US extends Myanmar gem ban
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Wednesday renewed a ban on the import of gems from Myanmar, hoping to choke off a funding source for the powerful military after broader sanctions ended.
President Barack Obama, who has otherwise normalised relations with Myanmar to reward its democratic reforms, issued an executive order to maintain a ban on rubies and jadeite.
"The administration is maintaining restrictions on specific activities and actors that contribute to human rights abuses or undermine Burma's democratic reform process," deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said, using Myanmar's former name.
Mr Obama "is taking this step to advance our policy of promoting responsible economic engagement and encouraging reform that directly benefits the Burmese people," Mr Rhodes said in a statement.