Brown threatens Myanmar sanctions

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown raised the prospect Saturday of further sanctions against Myanmar following UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's fruitless visit to the military regime.

"We await the secretary-general's report," Brown said in a statement from his office. "I hope that there is still the possibility of a change of approach from Burma.

"But if not, my sad conclusion is that the Burmese regime has put increased isolation, including the possibility of further sanctions, on the international agenda."

Brown's comments came after Myanmar's refusal to let Ban meet pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a two-day visit. Ban described the move "a setback for the international community."

Human rights groups had warned the visit would be seen as a failure unless he managed to win her release.

Brown said Ban was "right to go to Burma. He gave powerful voice to the UN's core mission -- our collective commitment to humanitarian relief, democratic governance and human rights."

"But it is a measure of the obstinacy of the Burmese regime that they have once again failed to respect those principles and failed to properly respond to the international figurehead who best embodies them."

Brown had on Friday described Ban's visit as "a crucial moment for the international community."

In an entry for the Huffington Post blog, the British prime minister had urged Myanmar to mark Ban's arrival by halting Aung San Suu Kyi's trial -- on charges of breaching the terms of her house arrest -- and setting her free.

The 64-year-old was transferred from her lakeside home to Yangon's notorious Insein prison in May to face trial after an American man swam uninvited to the property. She faces up to five years in jail if convicted.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest or in detention for 13 of the last 19 years since the junta refused to recognise her National League for Democracy's landslide victory in Myanmar's last elections, in 1990.