The U.S. State Department has confirmed it plans to use economic pressure to encourage democratic change in Burma and to pressure the military junta in Rangoon to release Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been held in detention for the past six weeks.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage says Washington is working on an import ban, asset freeze and a ban on remittances to Burma.
Mr. Armitage says the United States blames the lack of progress on democratic reform in Burma on what he called the country's oppressive and short-sighted military junta.
The senior U.S. official also said that Burma's ruling generals have failed to take advantage of opportunities to become full-fledged members of the international community.
After meeting with U.N. Special Envoy for Burma Razali Ismail, Mr. Armitage said Washington would continue to share its concern about the situation in Burma with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other nations in the region.
In a statement, Mr. Armitage said that Burma's association with ASEAN increasingly complicates the organization's dealings with the international community.
Mr. Armitage called for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all leading members of her National League for Democracy party who also were detained.
The NLD leader was detained on May 30th following an attack on her convoy by a junta-backed mob during a political tour in northern Burma.
Since then NLD offices nationwide have been closed, the senior leadership in Rangoon has been placed under house arrest, and an unknown number of members have been arrested.
Information for this report is provided by AFP, AP and State Dept.