WASHINGTON — The Bush administration announced Thursday that it was imposing economic sanctions against senior officials in the government of Myanmar, amid a crackdown on anti-government protesters there.
The Treasury Department announced the sanctions against 14 senior officials of Myanmar, also known as Burma. The action follows President Bush's decision to tighten U.S. sanctions against the country's military regime.
"The world is watching the people of Burma take to the streets to demand their freedom, and the American people stand in solidarity with these brave individuals," Bush said in a statement Thursday.
"We feel admiration and compassion for the monks and peaceful protesters calling for democracy," Bush said. "Every civilized nation has a responsibility to stand up for people suffering under a brutal military regime like the one that has ruled Burma for too long."
The action by Treasury will freeze any assets that the individuals targeted have in U.S. banks or other financial institutions under U.S. jurisdiction. The order also prohibits any U.S. citizens from doing business with the designated individuals.
"The president has made it clear that we will not stand by as the regime tries to silence the voices of the Burmese people through repression and intimidation," said Adam Szubin, director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
At the United Nations on Tuesday, Bush announced that the administration would impose new sanctions against the military dictatorship in Myanmar, accusing it of imposing "a 19-year reign of fear" that denies basic freedoms of speech, assembly and worship.
Bush called on all nations that have influence with the regime to join the United States in supporting the aspirations of the "Burmese people and to tell the Burmese junta to cease using force on its own people, who are peacefully expressing their desire for change."
Bush said that by its own account, the junta already has killed at least nine nonviolent demonstrators, and many others have been injured and arrested as they seek to express their views peacefully.
"I urge the Burmese soldiers and police not to use force on their fellow citizens," he said. "I call on those who embrace the values of human rights and freedom to support the legitimate demands of the Burmese people."
As the Treasury Department announced details of the sanctions, the White House called on the junta to allow a U.N. special envoy full access to all relevant parties, including those jailed by the junta and religious leaders, while he is in Myanmar, beginning Friday.