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DateLine Wednesday, 17 October 2007

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Myanmar junta vows to 'march on' despite pressure

MYANMAR, Myanmar's military junta Tuesday shrugged off international action to punish the regime for its crackdown on dissent, vowing to "march on" even as Japan cut aid and European nations widened sanctions.

State media also insisted there were no political prisoners in the country and criticised a UN Security Council statement deploring the violence used to quell the biggest anti-government protests in nearly two decades.

Japan, one of Myanmar's main donors, said Tuesday it was cancelling grants of about 4.7 million dollars over the fatal shooting of a Japanese journalist when security forces put down last month's huge protests.

On Monday, European Union foreign ministers approved a new set of sanctions against the junta including an embargo on the export of wood, gems and metals, and threatened further penalties.

US President George W. Bush, whose country has imposed targeted sanctions against junta leaders, called for "enormous international pressure, to make it clear to the generals that they will be completely isolated and not accepted into the international community."

But Myanmar vowed to resist, saying in state media that: "We will march on. There is no reason to change the course."

Yangon, Tuesday, AFP

 

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