Burma: UK Considers Further Sanctions
Britain has admitted that it could seek further sanctions against the Burmese junta if it fails to improve its human rights record and deliver on promises over political reform.
World leaders and ministers are in New York this week [September 2008] in and around the United Nations as the Burmese people mark one year since the Saffron Revolution pro-democracy protests were brutally crushed.
European Union sanctions against the junta have so far seen imports of timber, metals, minerals and precious and semi-precious stones prohibited, while investment in these sectors has been banned.
Sanctions from the bloc are aligned against the junta itself and not its subjects, but the EU said that it would be "difficult to define tighter sanctions that target the repressive regime without harming the ordinary people of Burma".
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office told inthenews.co.uk the UK government "would support considering further sanctions if insufficient political progress in Burma is seen".
"Unanimity in the European Council would be required for measures to be adopted," a spokesperson added.
UK ministers are in New York pressing for Burma to remain on the security council agenda, with the status quo dubbed "inherently unstable".
Forthcoming summits between regional powers are being seen as a crucial opportunity to lobby key governments.
Burma has languished under the control of its current oppressive military government for two decades.
This time last year  the junta launched a brutal crackdown of the largest anti-military protests in Burma this century.
Twelve months [September 2007] ago the Burmese army was deployed to streets in major cities across the country in response to demonstrations that began in protest at fuel price rises.
Thousands were detained as a curfew was imposed, with the junta admitting that nine people – including Japanese photojournalist Kenji Nagai – died in the crackdown.
But international observers said the death-toll was likely to be much, much higher.
The junta has already come under intense international pressure following its perceived mismanagement in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, which killed up to 150,000 people after hitting southern Burma in May .