US places sanctions on two Myanmar generals over coup as G7 countries ‘firmly condemn’ Myanmar military

Reuters

WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The United States imposed sanctions on two members of Myanmar’s military junta over the country’s Feb 1 coup.

The United States said it was blocking any US property and suspending the entry into the country of two members of the newly ruling State Administrative Council – General Maung Maung Kyaw, who commands the air force, and Lieutenant General Moe Myint Tun.

“The military must reverse its actions and urgently restore the democratically elected government in Burma, or the Treasury Department will not hesitate to take further action,” the department said in a statement.

“We will not hesitate to take further action against those who perpetrate violence and suppress the will of the people. We will not waver in our support for the people of Burma,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, using Myanmar’s former name.

“We call on the military and police to cease all attacks on peaceful protesters, immediately release all those unjustly detained, stop attacks on and intimidation of journalists and activists and restore the democratically elected government,” he said in a statement.

The announcement comes hours after the European Union also approved sanctions on Myanmar’s military, stepping up international pressure over the Feb 1 coup in which the generals toppled democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The junta has warned it is willing to use lethal force to crush the increasingly large demonstrations after protesters were shot dead over the weekend.

The United States has already imposed sanctions on other top figures including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the military chief and new ruler of the country. –

Meanwhile, Group of Seven (G7) countries said they “firmly condemn” violence committed by Myanmar’s security forces against protesters and urged them to “exercise utmost restraint and respect human rights and international law”.

The bloc of wealthy nations – comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States as well as the European Union’s High Representative – reiterated their opposition to the Feb 1 coup and the increasingly heavy-handed response to demonstrations against it.

“Use of live ammunition against unarmed people is unacceptable. Anyone responding to peaceful protests with violence must be held to account,” G7 foreign ministers said in a statement.

“We condemn the intimidation and oppression of those opposing the coup. We raise our concern at the crackdown on freedom of expression, including through the Internet blackout and draconian changes to the law that repress free speech.”

The G7 called for an end to the “systematic targeting” of protesters, doctors, civil society and journalists and for the military junta to revoke its declared state of emergency.

It also urged Myanmar’s military to allow full humanitarian access to support the most vulnerable.

“We remain united in condemning the coup in Myanmar. We call again for the immediate and unconditional release of those detained arbitrarily, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and continue to stand with the people of Myanmar in their quest for democracy and freedom,” the statement said. — NNN-AGENCIES