Monday, October 15, 2007

EU taking tougher sanctions against Burma's junta

Burma's junta already faces an EU travel ban and a freeze on assets. Nevertheless, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls for more sanctions, as the killings of monks as well as commoners and human rights abuses are still taking place in Burma.

EU foreign ministers are together at their monthly meeting in Luxembourg to discuss tougher sanctions—such as to ban imports of timber, metals and gemstones from Burma—against Burma's junta, since the crackdown on pro-democracy activists continues.

However, European sanctions have had no serious impact on Burma, because more than 90% of the country's trade is with its Asian neighbors. Moreover, these new measures cannot prevent the French energy giant Total from having business with the junta.

The UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari is currently back to the region and plans to visit Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, India and China for an Asian tour aiming to put more pressure on Burma.

Although the UN Security Council condemned the junta’s crackdown on the protests in Burma, the regime said it "deeply regretted" the statement. In addition, Burma’s military regime dismissed a UN statement calling for dialogue with the pro-democracy opposition, insisting that it would follow its own roadmap toward “reform.”

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