On Wednesday, Mr. Joe Biden said he passed an executive order on new sanctions against those responsible for the military coup in Myanmar. He also repeated demanding that Myanmar generals give up power and set civilian leaders free.
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Biden said the order allowed his administration “Immediately punish the military leaders who directed the coup, punishing their business interests as well as their family members.”
One of the sanctions is that the US will freeze $ 1 billion in Myanmar government funds in the United States.
The Biden administration has said this week it will identify the first set of targets to reach the fund.
“We will also impose strong export controls. We are freezing assets in the United States that benefit the Myanmar government, while continuing to maintain our support for health care, civil society groups, and other areas that direct benefits to the people of Myanmar ”, Mr. Biden said at the White House.
“We will be ready to take additional measures and we will continue to work with our international partners to get other countries to join us in these efforts,” he added.
The February 1 military coup, which included the arrest of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, put the Biden administration to the test of the first major international crisis, and also a test. for his dual commitments to “focus on human rights” in foreign policy and to work more closely with allies.
Mr. Biden said: “I again urge the Burmese military to immediately release its leaders and democratic political activists. The army must give up the power they already hold.
Western countries have condemned the coup, but analysts say Myanmar’s new government will not be isolated as in previous times, by China, India, neighboring Southeast Asia and Japan. It is difficult for the village to cut ties due to the country’s strategic importance in the region.
Derek Mitchell, a former US ambassador to Myanmar, said it was important to call on countries like Japan, India and Singapore to join in a strong joint response.
What will be important, he said, will be not just what the US does, but how it will get other allies to join with it.
The UN human rights agency will review a resolution on Friday drawn up by Britain and the European Union to condemn the coup and demand that Myanmar grant emergency access to observers.
However, the diplomats say China and Russia – both with ties to Myanmar’s armed forces – are expected to oppose or try to weaken the resolution. The United Nations Security Council released a statement last week calling for Suu Kyi’s release, but it did not include condemning the coup.
Protests still erupt every day in Myanmar, attracting all classes and occupations, including topless bodybuilders, women in evening gowns or wedding dresses, farmers riding tractors or people who brought pets to protest.
Thousands of people took part in demonstrations in the city of Yangon, while in the capital Naypyitaw, hundreds of government employees marched to support the civil disobedience campaign.
The protests, considered the largest in Myanmar in more than a decade, relived the memory of almost half a century in power until it began to give up some power in 2011. .
The military justified its takeover, saying that the November 8 election in which Ms. Suu Kyi’s National Coalition for Democracy (NLD) had an overwhelming victory, had been rigged. The National Election Commission has denied the military’s accusations.
Although Mr. Biden did not specify who will be subject to the new sanctions, Washington is likely to target the coup leader – General Min Aung Hlaing – and other top generals. These are also the people who were imposed with US sanctions in 2019 for persecuting Rohingya Muslims and other minorities.
Washington could also target Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited and Myanmar Economic Corp, military-held companies and involved in investments in multiple sectors such as banking, gemstones, copper, telecommunications and trousers. shirt.
Ms. Suu Kyi, 75, won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for campaigning for democracy and remains very popular in her home country despite her international reputation compromised by allegations related to persecution. Rohingyas.
She has been under house arrest for almost 15 years and is now facing charges of illegally importing six telecommunications radios. Her lawyer said that he was not allowed to see Ms. Suu Kyi.
Xuan Lan (Reuters)