WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) – The United States and its allies imposed more sanctions on Myanmar on Tuesday, marking the two-year anniversary of a military coup that has clamped down on energy officials and board members, among d others
Washington imposed sanctions on the Union Election Commission, mining companies and energy officials, among others, according to a statement from the Treasury Department. Details of the decision were first reported by Reuters.
It is the first time the United States has targeted Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) officials under the current sanctions program in Myanmar, a Treasury spokesman said.
Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom also announced sanctions.
Myanmar’s top generals led a coup in February 2021 after five years of tense power-sharing under a quasi-civilian political system created by the military, leading to a decade of unprecedented change.
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Myanmar has been in chaos since the coup, with a resistance movement fighting the military on multiple fronts after a bloody crackdown on opponents that saw Western sanctions reimposed.
Tuesday’s US sanctions target the managing director and deputy managing director of MOGE, which is the board’s biggest revenue-generating state-owned enterprise, according to the Treasury.
Human rights advocates have called for sanctions on MOGE, but Washington has so far held back.
Washington also appointed the Union Energy Minister, who Treasury says represents the Myanmar government in international and domestic energy sector engagements and manages state-owned entities involved in oil and gas production and export. .
The mining company no. 1 and mining company no. 2, both state-owned companies, as well as the Union Election Commission, were also hit with sanctions by Washington.
DIGRES ELECTORAL RULES
On Friday, the junta announced tough requirements for parties to run in elections scheduled for August, including a major increase in their membership, a move that could sideline opponents of the military and consolidate its power control
The election would subvert the will of the people if opponents of the military continue to be met with violence, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
“Many key political players have announced their refusal to participate in these elections, which will be neither inclusive nor representative, and will almost certainly fuel further bloodshed,” he said.
The rules favor the Union Solidarity and Development Party, a military proxy filled with former generals, which was ousted by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party in 2015 elections and 2020.
Thousands of NLD members were arrested or imprisoned during the coup, including Suu Kyi, and many more are in hiding.
The LND in November called this year’s elections “fake” and said it would not recognize them. The elections have also been dismissed as a farce by Western governments.
Washington also targeted former and current Myanmar military officials, the Treasury said, accusing the Air Force of continuing airstrikes using Russian-made aircraft against pro-democracy forces that have killed civilians.
Canada targeted six people and banned the export, sale, supply or shipment of aviation fuel in its action. Australia targeted board members and a military company.
The UK designated two companies and two individuals to help supply Myanmar’s air force with aviation fuel used to carry out bombing campaigns against its own citizens.
John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, said that even with Tuesday’s action, the United States has yet to match the tougher sanctions imposed by the European Union, particularly on income of natural gas and to banks that process foreign payments for extraction. sector
“As a result, the actions taken to date have not imposed enough financial pain on the board to force it to change its conduct,” Sifton said in a statement.
Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Simon Lewis and Susan Heavey in Washington and Sachin Ravikumar in London; Editing by Nick Macfie and Grant McCool
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