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Friday, June 18, 2021

These sanctions are ‘just the firs’: The US lashes out at the Myanmar army rulers

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The latest sanctions will prohibit the ruling military generals from exceeding the access beyond $1bn in the Myanmar government funds, held in the funds of the US.

On Friday, Myanmar’s military rule steeled for a seventh consecutive day of street demonstrations following the US announcement of sanctions on leaders who seized power by expelling the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, thus putting brakes on the democratic transition of the region.

The latest sanctions will prohibit the ruling military generals from exceeding the access beyond $1bn in the Myanmar government funds, held in the funds of the US. However, the demonstrators say that it isn’t enough. A wave of indignation and resistance has taken over the whole nation with thousands of people flooding out on streets and carrying out rallies demanding the military generals to withdraw the power. 

The protests have been nonviolent as yet. However, there are reports of the police using tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, as well as firing on protestors.

The demonstrators had welcomed the US move hours before the country imposed new sanctions against the military generals of Myanmar who staged the coup. 

An executive order allowing the treasury department to target the spouse and adult children of the ones who’ve been sanctioned was also signed by the US President. Army general Min Aung Hlaing, Deputy General Soe Win, and 4 members of the State Administration Council were named in the sanction.

While making an announcement regarding the sanctions, the treasury department of the US stated that “As a part of today’s action, Treasury is designating 10 current and former military officials responsible for the February 1, 2021 coup or associated with the Burmese military regime.”

The imposition will also affect the businesses controlled by the army including Myanmar Imperial Jade Co, and Myanmar Ruby Enterprises.

The White House stated that the sanctions imposed by the US may not be permanent. The military should withdraw the power and restore the civilian government in the country. It also stated that the emergency should be put to an immediate end, and release all those who faced unlawful detention. The White House also mentioned ensuring that the demonstrators must not be treated with violence.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken turned to the military generals “to relinquish power, restore the democratically elected government, and release those unjustly detained.”

Supporters of detained leader Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), welcomed the sanctions and said that stronger intervention was required to drive the army out of power and compel it to accept the landslide victory of the NLD in the elections of November.

One of the supporters of Suu Kyi said in the statement to Reuters News Agency, “We are hoping for more actions than this as we are suffering every day and night of the military coup here in Myanmar, ”

Janet Yellen, the US Treasury Secretary has warned the Burmese army saying that if there is no change or shift in the course of actions by the military, then the country would take additional actions. It also warned that these sanctions are “just the first” if the peaceful demonstrators are met with violence.

The White House also reported that the US International Development Agency, USAID, is rerouting $42.4 million of aid earmarked for Myanmar to support measures to reform the economic policy of the country, and initiatives that strengthen civil society and the private sector.

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