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Sanctions extended for Myanmar

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Congress moved Monday to extend import sanctions on Myanmar for another year, citing the Asian country’s suppression of political dissent and human rights.The House voted by voice to renew the ban on imports, imposed under a 2003 law, for another year. The Senate Finance Committee was scheduled to approve an identical resolution later in the day.”The controlling junta continues to have total disregard for its own people and their basic rights,” Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., said of the military government that has held power in Myanmar, also known as Burma, since 1988.He said the military leaders continue to arrest and torture political activists and refuse to release Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader who has been detained by the government for 12 of the past 18 years.The United States also restricts exports and financial transactions with Myanmar, and imposes an arms embargo with what House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-Calif., called “one of the most repressive regimes on the planet.”Lantos acknowledged that unilateral sanctions were of limited effect when other countries – he mentioned China and India – had active commercial relations with Myanmar. But he said European nations are imposing sanctions and he hoped the U.S. stance would “influence those in the international community who are currently asleep at the wheel of justice and human rights.”—The bill is HJ Res 44 and SJ Res 16.On the Net:Congress: http://thomas.loc.gov/


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