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Bush to Sign Burma Sanctions Bill - 2003-07-20


President Bush is set to sign a bill to further punish Burma's military government for its latest crackdown on the country's democracy movement.

A White House statement says Mr. Bush is looking forward to signing the bill that emerged from Congress Wednesday.

The United States has been a leader in efforts to penalize Burma's military government for its continued detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and several of her colleagues. Japan and the European Union also have tightened sanctions against Rangoon.

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Kofi Annan Wednesday gave Burma's envoy a letter for military leader Than Shwe. Mr. Annan said the letter demands that Rangoon quickly release Aung San Suu Kyi.

The secretary-general said it is premature to discuss imposing sanctions on Burma's military government because the Security Council has not yet discussed Aung San Suu Kyi's arrest.

In Bangkok, Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai told Reuters news agency his government has a plan to bring about national reconciliation in Burma. He did not elaborate, but added that he thought imposing stiffer sanctions against Rangoon will not work.

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

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