| GEO World|
| Obama extends Myanmar sanctions|
| Updated at: 0943 PST, Saturday, May 16, 2009|
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama on Friday formally extended US sanctions against Myanmar, keeping up pressure on the junta at the height of its new showdown with detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
"I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to Burma and maintain in force the sanctions against Burma to respond to this threat," Obama said in a message to Congress.
The move, which had been previewed last month by US officials and was merely a formality, comes despite an official US review of policy on Myanmar, also known as Burma.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that she wants to find a "better way" to sway Myanmar's military leaders. Foreign ministers of the European Union last month also extended their sanctions against Myanmar for another year, but said they were ready to ease them and hold talks if there was democratic progress.
The junta has kept Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for nearly 20 years. The Nobel peace laureate led her party to victory in 1990 but the junta never allowed the election to stand.