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EU sanctions 10 Myanmar junta officials, 2 firms

EU sanctions 10 Myanmar junta officials, 2 firms

Myanmar's army move in to disperse protesters during a demonstration in Yangon, Mar 7, 2021. (Photo: AP)

BRUSSELS: The European Union on Monday (Apr 19) announced sanctions on 10 Myanmar junta officials and two conglomerates linked to the military over the coup and bloody crackdown on protesters in their country.

The individuals "are all responsible for undermining democracy and the rule of law in Myanmar/Burma, and for repressive decisions and serious human rights violations", member states said after a video meeting of EU foreign ministers.

The statement said the two entities, Myanmar Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC), were conglomerates "owned and controlled by the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw), and provide revenue for it".

READ: Local uprisings emerge to challenge Myanmar's army

The individuals were to be named on publication of the sanctions in the EU's official gazette, at which time the measures would come into effect.

"The junta's increasing brutality has clear consequences," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted after chairing the EU ministers' meeting.

EU diplomats said the officials targeted were mostly members of the ruling State Administration Council.

Their addition brings to 35 the number of individuals in Myanmar on the bloc's sanctions list, which imposes a travel ban and asset freeze on those named.

The statement said EU countries were united in "condemning the brutal actions of the military junta" and aimed to bring about change in the junta's leadership.

The message being sent to Myanmar's military rulers, they said, was "continuing on the current path will only bring further suffering and will never grant any legitimacy".

READ: Japan asks Myanmar to release detained Japanese journalist

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said after the virtual talks with his EU counterparts that the junta was "manoeuvring the country into a dead end".

That, he said, "is why we are increasing the pressure to bring the military to the negotiating table".

The US and Britain have already imposed sanctions on MEC and MEHL, which dominate sectors including trading, alcohol, cigarettes and consumer goods. Washington has hit Myanmar's state gem company as well.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military seized power from civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, triggering a massive uprising that the junta has sought to quell using lethal force.

The military has ramped up attempts to crush dissent following mass demonstrations, with at least 737 civilians killed and the press increasingly under attack.

Source: AFP/dv


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