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Lawmakers urge U.S. to craft targeted sanctions on Myanmar military

Rohingya refugees who crossed the border from Myanmar a day before, wait to receive permission from the Bangladeshi army to continue their way to refugee camps, in Palang Khali, near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh October 17, 2017. REUTERS/ Zohra Bensemra

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 40 lawmakers urged the Trump administration on Wednesday to reimpose U.S. travel bans on Myanmar's military leaders and prepare targeted sanctions against those responsible for a crackdown on the country's Rohingya Muslim minority.

In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a group of Republican and Democratic members of the House of Representatives called for "meaningful steps" against Myanmar's military and others who have committed human rights abuses in an offensive that has driven more than 500,000 Rohingya Muslims out of the Southeast Asian nation.

"Burma's authorities appear to be in denial of what has happened," stated the letter. "We urge you to do everything possible to ensure protection and security for those trapped inside Burma or willing to return, as well as oppose forcible returns from neighboring countries."

(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Sandra Maler)