Tuesday, April 23, 2024

US threatens Myanmar sanctions after military coup

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Joe Biden threatened to impose sanctions on Myanmar after military seized power in a coup and detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the ruling National League for Democracy party.

The US president described the coup as “a direct attack on the country’s transition to democracy” and warned the Myanmar military that his administration was preparing to take action to respond to their illegal seizure of power.

“The United States has lifted sanctions against Burma over the past decade based on progress towards democracy,” Biden said in a statement, using Myanmar’s old name.

“Reversing this progress will require an immediate review of our laws and sanctioning authorities, followed by appropriate action,” he added.

The Burmese military said on Monday it had taken control after the arrest of senior NLD leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, who is the Councilor of State, and President Win Myint. He imposed a state of emergency for a year and handed power over to General Min Aung Hlaing, his commander-in-chief.

Biden called on the international community to pressure the military “to immediately relinquish the power they have taken” and to release the detained officials. He also urged them to lift restrictions on the internet and other telecommunications that were imposed as part of the coup.

Mr. Biden said he “takes note of those who support the Burmese people at this difficult time.”

When asked if he was referring to China, Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said it was “a message to all countries in the region.” She said the United States was having “extensive consultations” with its allies when evaluating its response.

Last week, the Burmese military warned it could seize power after alleged irregularities in the November 7 elections that gave the NLD a landslide victory and gave Ms Aung San Suu Kyi a second five-term. years. As tensions mounted last week, Myanmar’s election commission dismissed allegations of electoral fraud by the military.

The generals subsequently appeared to walk away from the threat, saying they would respect the constitution. But on Monday morning, the military carried out the previously threatened coup, arresting Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior NLD officials just hours before the newly elected parliament convened for the first time.

The coup brought back memories of the five-decade military junta rule and the previous detention of Ms. Aung San Suu Ski, who spent years under house arrest as a political prisoner.

The NLD seized power in 2016 after an election held under the auspices of a 2008 constitution that reserved three government ministries and a quarter of parliamentary seats for the military. The transfer of power to a civilian government paved the way for the United States to lift the sanctions in place under military rule.

The coup drew condemnation from around the world. Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief, said he had “strongly” condemned the coup and called for the immediate release of NLD officials. “The people of Myanmar want democracy. The EU supports them, ”he tweeted.

António Guterres, UN secretary general, said he had “strongly condemned” the coup. Marise Payne, Australian Foreign Minister, said Canberra was “deeply concerned” and the UK called on the military to “respect the rule of law and human rights and release people. illegally detained “.

To follow Demetri Sevastopulo and John reed on Twitter


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