US President Barack Obama has decided to extend existing US sanctions against Burma after the country's ruling junta jailed opposition leader and pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.
AFP - President Barack Obama on Friday formally extended US sanctions against Myanmar, keeping up pressure on the junta at the height of its new showdown with detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
"I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to Burma and maintain in force the sanctions against Burma to respond to this threat," Obama said in a message to Congress.
The move, which had been previewed last month by US officials and was merely a formality, comes despite an official US review of policy on Myanmar, also known as Burma.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that she wants to find a "better way" to sway Myanmar's military leaders.
Foreign ministers of the European Union last month also extended their sanctions against Myanmar for another year, but said they were ready to ease them and hold talks if there was democratic progress.
The junta has kept Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for nearly 20 years. The Nobel peace laureate led her party to victory in 1990 but the junta never allowed the election to stand.
Myanmar was under intense international pressure Friday to free Aung San Suu Kyi after she was imprisoned ahead of a new trial next week for breaching the terms of her house arrest.
The United States and the United Nations led calls for the immediate release of the 63-year-old, whose trial is due to start in jail on Monday.
The junta took Aung San Suu Kyi from her home on Thursday to Yangon's notorious Insein prison, where she was charged over a bizarre incident in which an American man swam to her lakeside residence.
Date created : 2009-05-16