EU warns Myanmar of new sanctions

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United Nations, Sep 26: The European Union warned Myanmar's military junta it would face tougher EU sanctions if it uses force to crush growing pro-democracy protests.

The EU statement came yesterday after the authorities imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew and poured security forces into the streets of Yangon to try to end the most serious demonstrations in almost 20 years, led by Buddhist monks.

In a statement issued by its Portuguese presidency, the 27-nation bloc said: ''The EU further underlines to the authorities ... that it will reinforce and strengthen the existing sanctions regime, should they resort to using violence against the unarmed and peaceful demonstrators.'' US President George W Bush earlier announced at the United Nations he was widening financial sanctions against Myanmar and a visa ban on members of the junta, their backers and families.

Existing EU sanctions include a travel ban on Myanmar's leaders, an arms embargo and a ban on military cooperation with the southeast Asian country.

The EU statement urged the Myanmar's authorities to pursue genuine reconciliation and negotiation, and urged ''all those with influence on the military government to bring that influence to bear to ensure that the authorities respond in a non-violent manner.''


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