EU, UN Up Pressure on Burma

EU set to impose harsher sanctions as crackdown continues
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2007 8:05 AM CDT
U Uttara, right, Britain's leading Burmese monk, releases petals into the River Thames from Westminster Bridge close to the Houses of Parliament, during a protest march in London, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007,...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – European Union leaders meeting today are expected to set tougher sanctions against the Burmese military junta, banning imports of gemstones, timber and metal, Burma's most lucrative exports, BBC reports. UN envoy Ibraham Gambari, in Thailand to press for action against the Rangoon regime, decried the arrests of three of the remaining student leaders over the weekend as "extremely disturbing."

Gambari is on a six-nation Asian tour to persuade Burma's neighbors to take a tougher stand against repressive measures by the military government. The EU sanctions are expected to have little impact as more than 90% of Burma's exports go to its neighbors. The sanctions also will also not stop French energy giant Total from doing business in Burma, the BBC notes, though that could come later.