US Boosts Sanctions Against Myanmar

December 11, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: CBS News

Wire Service: AP

The House approved a bill Tuesday meant to stop Myanmar's rubies and high-quality jade from entering the United States. It tightens already tough sanctions against a ruling regime that killed peaceful protesters and Buddhist monks in September.

The bill's sponsors said they want to stop the military leaders in Myanmar, also known as Burma, from dodging U.S. sanctions by laundering gemstones in third countries before selling them in the U.S. International outrage at the September crackdown failed to spur change, lawmakers said, but fresh sanctions would hurt the regime by curbing profit from the gem trade.

"Burma's generals fund this repression of their own people by selling off the country's natural resources, especially oil and gems, leaving the Burmese people in poverty," Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos said in a statement. Tightened sanctions would "ensure that the United States stands up to these thugs."