US welcomes UK, Canada sanctions on Myanmar military over coup

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken concludes his first press briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, on January 27, 2021.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday welcomed sanctions imposed on Myanmar’s military generals by Canada and the United Kingdom (U.K.), following a similar move by the U.S. in reaction to the military coup that occurred on Feb. 1. 

The U.S. has called for other nations to join in sanctions against the military in Myanmar, also called Burma, after it instituted a state of emergency, overthrowing the civilian-led government and imprisoning elected officials. 

The military charges that November elections in the country were compromised by fraud, a charge that local and international election observers disputed and the majority of the international community has rejected. 

“The United States welcomes sanctions by [the United Kingdom] and [Canada] on those responsible for the coup in Burma,” Blinken tweeted Thursday. “We urge the international community to send a unified message to promote accountability. The Burmese military must restore the democratically elected government.”

The U.K. is imposing sanctions on three top Myanmar military leaders, while Canada is blacklisting nine military officials. 

“Canada stands with the people of Myanmar in their quest for democracy and human rights,” Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau said in a statement. “We work alongside our international partners who call for the restoration of the democratically-elected government, and we echo their calls for the Myanmar military to release those who have been unjustly detained in the military takeover.”

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab further condemned the Myanmar military for detaining Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and the leader of the majority-ruling National League for Democracy party.  

“We, alongside our international allies will hold the Myanmar military to account for their violations of human rights and pursue justice for the Myanmar people,” Raab said in a statement. 

Last week, President Biden imposed sanctions on Myanmar military officials, their families and businesses with ties to the military that was presented as a signal to the international community to join in pushing back against the coup. 

“A strong and unified message emerging from the United States has been essential, in our view, to encouraging other countries to join us and pressing for an immediate return to democracy,” the president said in prepared remarks from the White House.

The president also warned the military against using violence against hundreds of thousands of protesters that have taken to streets in the weeks following the coup. 

“The people of Burma are making their voices heard and the world is watching,” the president said. “We’ll be ready to impose additional measures, and we’ll continue to work with our international partners to urge other nations to join us in these efforts.”

The coup was largely condemned by the international community. Yet a joint statement by the members of the United Nations Security Council, which include permanent members Russia and China, refrained from calling the military takeover a coup while urging a return to democracy.

Tags Antony Blinken Burma Joe Biden Military coup Myanmar sanctions
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