Tuesday, September 25, 2007

US to impose new Burma sanctions

President George W Bush will impose new US sanctions on the Burmese military regime and its financial backers in a bid to support pro-democracy protesters, a senior aide said Monday.

Bush planned to lay out the measures Tuesday in a United Nations speech meant to step up international pressure on the military junta which rules Burma, as they face the biggest anti-regime demonstrations in two decades.

The sanctions include a visa ban on key members of the regime, White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley said. The US will also target assets of people tied to the regime, he indicated.

Bush planned to single out Burma in a UN General Assembly speech on human rights and democracy worldwide.

The aim is to support Buddhist monks who have led days of peaceful protests and create pressure on the military regime to free all political prisoners and move toward democracy, Hadley said.

"He will call for the United Nations and for other countries there to do all they can to support a process of political change in Burma," he said.

An estimated 30,000 monks and supporters marched on Monday through Burma's capital, Rangoon, the seventh day of a barefoot rebellion that has avoided a military crackdown so far.

Many passed by the headquarters of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), headed by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Burma's rulers have had her under house arrest since May 2003.