WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Friday renewed U.S. sanctions against Myanmar's military government, saying its actions and policies continued to pose a serious threat to U.S. interests.
Obama informed Congress of his decision the same day the United States joined other Western critics in denouncing Myanmar's rulers for pressing what they called trumped-up new charges against detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in February the Obama administration was reviewing its policy toward Myanmar and looking at new ways to sway its entrenched military junta.
Washington has gradually tightened sanctions on the generals who have ruled the former Burma for more than four decades to try to force them into political rapprochement with Nobel laureate Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.
The opposition won a 1990 election landslide only to be denied power, and Suu Kyi has been in prison or under house arrest for more than half of the last two decades.
The United States, Britain, the European Union, the United Nations and human rights groups condemned the trial that Suu Kyi faces from Monday on charges she broke the terms of her house arrest after an American intruder stayed in her home.
The crisis between the United States and Burma ... has not been resolved, Obama said, citing sanctions first imposed by the United States in 1997 and ratcheted up several times in response to repression of democracy activists.
These actions and policies are hostile to U.S. interests, Obama said. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to ... maintain in force the sanctions against Burma to respond to this threat.