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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US Announces More Sanctions on Myanmar Junta

By VOA News May 17, 2021

The United States has sanctioned more members and associates of the Myanmar military junta for their alleged role in violence against protesters demonstrating against the country's February 1 military coup.

Those sanctions include members of the State Administrative Council, cabinet members and adult children of some military officials, according to the State Department.

The new sanctions were coordinated with Britain and Canada, which will impose similar measures.

"As President (Joe) Biden has stated, the United States will continue to promote accountability for those responsible for the coup," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Monday. "Our actions today underscore our resolve and that of our partners to apply political and financial pressure on the regime as long as it fails to stop violence and take meaningful action to respect the will of the people."

Blinken encouraged other countries to impose similar measures against the military junta, including arms embargoes, suspension of military sales and the termination of cooperation with military-owned entities in the country.

Those sanctioned will be blocked from all property and interests in property "that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by them, individually or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons."

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Monday at least 797 civilians, including dozens of children, have been killed by security forces since the military seized control of Myanmar's government. Thousands more have been injured. On Monday, UNICEF's Myanmar office called for an immediate halt to the violence and for security forces to protect children in the town of Mindat, in western Chin State, following an uptick of violence over the weekend.

The nonbinding resolution also calls for an immediate arms embargo on the country, as well as for the military to respect the outcome of the November 2020 elections. It calls for allowing in the U.N. special envoy and for Myanmar's military to stop obstructing the distribution of humanitarian aid.

While the resolution has no legal force, if it draws support from several of the 193 member states, including ASEAN countries and China, it would send a clear signal to the junta that it is internationally isolated.

The U.S. has called for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy Party, ousted President Win Myint, and protesters, journalists and human rights activists it says have been unjustly detained since the coup.

Military officials have claimed widespread fraud in last November's general election, which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won in a landslide, as justification for the February takeover. The fraud allegations have been denied by Myanmar's electoral commission.

U.N. Correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this report.

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