Bush imposes new curbs on Myanmar junta, backers

By Deb Riechmann, AP

WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush is imposing new sanctions to punish Myanmar’s military-run government and its backers for a deadly crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Expanding on sanctions imposed last month, Bush ordered the Treasury Department to freeze the U.S. assets of additional members of the junta. He also acted to tighten controls on U.S. exports to Myanmar, also known as Burma. And he called on the governments of China and India to do more to pressure the government of the Southeast Asian nation.

“The people of Burma are showing great courage in the face of immense repression,” Bush said in the Diplomatic Room of the White House. “They are appealing for our help. We must not turn a deaf ear to their cries.”

“I believe no nation can forever suppress its own people,” Bush said. “And we are confident that the day is coming when freedom’s tide will reach the shores of Burma.”

The president directed the Treasury Department to bar almost a dozen more senior Myanmar government officials from using the U.S. financial system. These include the mayor of Yangon, the former Rangoon, and the ministers of electric power, health, education, industry, labor, science and technology, commerce, national planning and economic development, finance and revenue, telecommunications and construction.

Treasury banned 14 other officials last month, including the junta leader, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, and the No. 2 man in the military regime, Deputy Senior Gen. Maung Aye.