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Burma Criticizes New US Sanctions - 2003-07-30


Burma's foreign minister has criticized U.S. economic sanctions imposed against his country over the detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Speaking in Indonesia Tuesday, Foreign Minister Win Aung said the sanctions, which President Bush signed into law on Monday, will hurt the Burmese people.

The new law strengthens previous sanctions, including visa restrictions on Burma's military leaders and a 1997 ban on new investment by U.S. companies. It also condemns Burma's human rights record and voices support for Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi's democracy movement.

Meanwhile, the London-based rights group Amnesty International has urged Burma to allow an impartial investigation into a clash between supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi and pro government demonstrators that resulted in her arrest May 30th.

Rangoon's military government has blamed Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi for the incident. Amnesty International also called for her immediate and unconditional release.

Later Britain's junior foreign minister Michael O'Brien denounced her detention as "simply not acceptable." He said he welcomed Monday's news from the International Committee for the Red Cross that Aung San Suu Kyi appears to be in good health.

A Red Cross official was granted access to the Nobel peace prize laureate Monday.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy won a resounding victory in national elections in 1990, but the military government never allowed them to take power. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP,Amnesty International Press Release and FBC

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