Aides: US to extend Myanmar gems ban

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional aides say the Obama administration is planning to extend a ban on imports of rubies and jade from Myanmar because of the powerful military’s involvement in the trade.

The gemstones are sourced from border regions, particularly northern Kachin State, where violence between ethnic rebels and government forces has rumbled on despite Myanmar’s democratic reforms.

Three aides say President Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order as 2003 sanctions legislation authorizing the ban lapsed July 27. The aides requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the plans before an announcement expected this week.

The gems restriction has remained in place despite the lifting of a general ban on imports in November as tough economic sanctions were eased to reward Myanmar’s shift from direct military rule.

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