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Burma Likens US Sanctions to Weapons of Mass Destruction - 2003-07-16


Burma's ruling military has denounced U.S. moves toward tougher sanctions on the country, comparing the measures to weapons of mass destruction.

A spokesman for the regime said in a statement that the sanctions would deprive people of work and hurt health care and education in the impoverished country. The statement said that sanctions are imposed on target countries by the rich and powerful nations mainly with the intent to create havoc and bring hardship on the mass population.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to impose new sanctions on Burma in response to its latest crackdown on the country's democracy movement.

The legislation bans all imports from Burma and strengthens previous sanctions against Burma that include visa restrictions on its military leaders and a 1997 ban on new investment by U.S. companies.

It also strongly condemns Burma's human rights record and voices support for the country's opposition democracy movement.

The sanctions must still be reconciled with similar measures approved by the U.S. Senate last month, and then signed by President Bush before they become law.

The United States imported an estimated 356 million dollars worth of goods from Burma last year, mostly garments and footwear.

Burma's government recently appealed directly to President Bush, asking him to reject any import ban. The ruling generals sent President Bush a petition they said had been signed by 350,000 textile workers complaining they would be hurt by any such ban.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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