EU agrees to strengthen Myanmar sanctions

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LUXEMBOURG, Oct 15 (Reuters) European Union foreign ministers agreed today to strengthen sanctions on military-ruled Myanmar in response to its bloody crackdown on protests last month, diplomats said.

Ministers agreed to broaden existing sanctions that include visa bans and asset freezes on generals, government officials and their relatives, and new steps targeting the country's key timber, metals and gemstone sectors, they said.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said new economic measures would not be implemented immediately and the EU may send a mission to Myanmar to call on the military junta to take steps towards reconciliation with domestic political opponents.

REUTERS RSA PM2131

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