US Senate calls for UNSC action on Myanmar
The US Senate has adopted a resolution calling on Washington to spearhead a campaign for a UN Security Council resolution compelling Myanmar's military junta to work with the world body on a plan for national reconciliation.
Adopted late on Thursday, the resolution also condemned the military rulers of the Southeast Asian nation for its current "campaign of terror" against ethnic minorities, reportedly the most serious in a decade.
The resolution reflects the Senate's "grave concern about the deteriorating situation in Burma (Myanmar)," said Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority whip, whose resolution received bipartisan backing.
"It also reflects the view of the Senate that, while a second United Nations Security Council briefing on Burma is welcomed, there now needs to be a legally binding, non-punitive resolution regarding Burma passed by the UN Security Council," he said.
Tom Lantos, a Democratic House of Representatives lawmaker who heads the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, called for "tough approach" on Myanmar, saying the US legislature "must send a strong signal of support for restoration of democracy and human rights in that impoverished nation."
The United States put the international spotlight on Myanmar in December when it successfully pushed the Security Council, despite initial objections from China and Russia, to hold a briefing on human rights and other problems there for the first time.
The Senate resolution came after President George W Bush on Thursday extended economic sanctions on Myanmar for another year and as a top UN envoy arrived on a visit to Myanmar, marking the highest-level mission by the global body for more than two years.