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Taken Question
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 16, 2007
Question Taken at the October 16, 2007 Press Briefing

Burma: Policy Regarding European Sanctions

Question: Senators Lugar and Biden have urged Europe to join the U.S. in establishing targeted sanctions against the Burmese junta’s offshore bank accounts. What is our reaction to this? Do we think there should be a “concerted diplomatic effort” involving the UN, China, India and ASEAN as the senators suggested?

Answer: We welcome the European Union’s decision October 15 to strengthen its sanctions against the Burmese regime, including a ban on investment, exports, and imports involving logs and timber and the mining of metals, minerals, and precious and semi-precious stones. We understand that the EU is considering additional sanctions, including a ban on all new investments, and we strongly support such measures in principle.

Following the junta’s crackdown against its citizens peacefully demonstrating for political change, the United States toughened sanctions targeting the Burmese regime, designating an additional 14 senior officials as subject to asset freezing under Executive Order 13310. The United States has also expanded its visa ban, and is considering additional sanction measures. While sanctions alone certainly will not bring change to Burma, they are a critical part of the effort to bring international pressure to bear on the regime.

We believe a concerted international effort is needed to persuade the Burmese regime of the necessity of pursuing genuine dialogue leading to a peaceful political transition, and this has been reflected in both our policy and our actions on Burma to date. To achieve this, we are working assiduously in concert with others throughout the international community to ensure the success of the United Nation’s good offices mission, led by Special Advisor on Burma Ibrahim Gambari. We are actively engaging key regional partners to gain their support in pressing the regime for a democratic transition. We will continue to coordinate closely with like-minded partners in Europe and elsewhere. We will also keep this issue before the UN Security Council to help bring about the kind of changes we and the Burmese people seek.

2007/890


Released on October 16, 2007

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