AFP | July 29, 2008

President George W. Bush on Tuesday renewed a ban on imports from military-ruled Myanmar and also signed a new law that aims to keep Myanmar’s gems from entering US markets via third-party countries.

“Our message is: the United States believes in democracy and freedom,” Bush said during a White House ceremony in which he signed the two laws.

The Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act renews a sanctions regime imposed since 2003 over the suppression of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s democracy movement.

Bush also signed a new sanctions regime aimed at stopping gems including jade and rubies from entered the United States via third nations such as Thailand, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. The gems are a key source of income for the military regime.

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