Britain draws up plan to put pressure on Burmese junta

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Indy Politics

Britain is calling for a multi-billion-pound aid package from rich nations to encourage Burma's ruling military junta to move towards democracy.

Gordon Brown has written to other world leaders outlining his "carrot and stick" approach, under which Burma would face tougher sanctions if its leaders refused to bow to pressure for democratic change.

Britain wants the United Nations to follow the European Union's example by banning arms sales to Burma. EU foreign ministers meet today to discuss the recent crackdown on Burma's pro-democracy protests, and Britain will seek to outlaw imports of such Burmese commodities as timber, gems and metals, as well as calling for an end to investment in the country if there is no progress on reconciliation.

Mr Brown said: "We cannot forget the images on our television screens of monks and ordinary citizens in Burma protesting, nor the death and human rights abuses we know are still taking place.

"As I have made clear, we will not turn away."

In an attempt to broker an agreement on an economic package, Mr Brown has written to his counterparts in the G7 group of industrialised nations, Portugal, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, India, China, and the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

His proposal would bring together the G7 group, the UN, EU, China, India, the Association of South-east Asian Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to provide support for recovery "conditional on progress with reconciliation and democracy".

Mr Brown also said British ministers would be dispatched to Asia and the Far East and the Government would review the effectiveness of its arms embargo to ensure that weapons or components were not diverted or re-exported to Burma.

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