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AFP
April 20, 2021

EU sanctions Myanmar junta officials

World

AFP
April 20, 2021

Brussels: The EU on Monday imposed sanctions on 10 Myanmar junta officials and two conglomerates linked to the military over the coup and bloody crackdown on protesters, European officials said.

"The military regime is continuing its course of violence and manoeuvring the country into a dead end. That is why we are increasing the pressure to bring the military to the negotiating table," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said after virtual talks with his EU counterparts.

"In addition to the listing of individuals, two economic conglomerates that are attributed to the military are also affected," he added. European diplomats said the two firms hit with asset freezes and visa bans were the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) which dominate sectors including trading, alcohol, cigarettes and consumer goods.

The officials targeted are mostly members of the ruling State Administration Council seen as responsible for undermining the democracy in the southeast Asian nation, diplomats said. The measures -- which will go into force when they are published in the EU’s official journal -- come after the bloc hit junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and 10 other senior officials with sanctions last month over the February 1 seizure of power and bloody suppression of protests.

Western powers are seeking to increase pressure on Myanmar’s new leadership by targeting their key moneymakers. The US and Britain have already imposed sanctions on the MEC and MEHL, and 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 its attempts to crush dissent following mass demonstrations, with at least 737 civilians killed and the press increasingly under attack.