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Bush Imposes New Sanctions on Burma

President Bush is imposing additional sanctions against Burma's government and wants China and India must do more to pressure Burma's military rulers. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the White House.

President Bush launched new sanctions against Burma's military rulers because he says they are defying the world's just demands to stop vicious persecution.

"They continue to dismiss calls to begin peaceful dialogue aimed at national reconciliation," said Bush. "Most of all, they continue to reject the clear will of the Burmese people to live in freedom under leaders of their own choosing."

Mr. Bush sanctioned most of the top military commanders in Burma last month after at least ten people were killed when security forces opened fire on the largest demonstrations in decades.

The new measures freeze U.S. assets of another eleven members of the military government, tighten export controls to Burma, and allow the U.S. Treasury Department greater authority to sanction those responsible for human rights abuses and public corruption.

"Business as usual is unacceptable," said President Bush. "So I applaud the efforts of the European Union and nations like Australia that have announced targeted sanctions on the Burmese regime."

"I commend nations such as Japan that have curtailed their assistance in response to the atrocities. I appreciate nations such as Singapore, and the Philippines, and Indonesia who have spoken out against the atrocities," he added.

The European Union this week decided to impose an import embargo on timber, gems and precious metals from Burma.

With authorities continuing to arrest protesters who took part in last month's demonstrations, Mr. Bush says Burma's neighbors must do more.

"I ask other countries to review their own laws and policies, especially Burma's closest neighbors - China, India, and others in the region," he said. "The people of Burma are showing great courage in the face of immense repression. They are appealing for our help. We must not turn a deaf ear to their cries."

United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari Thursday suggested the Burmese government be offered incentives in exchange for democratic reforms so as to show its rulers that the international community is not just there to punish them.