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US announces sanctions, asks Myanmar military to free leaders

US announces sanctions, asks Myanmar military to free leaders

US announces sanctions, asks Myanmar military to free leaders

US President Joe Biden announced sanctions on Wednesday against Myanmar’s military leaders and demanded they relinquish power.

Biden said his administration was cutting off Myanmar generals’ access to $1 billion in funds in the US and would soon unveil new sanctions.

“I again call on the Burmese military to immediately release democratic political leaders and activists they are now detaining including Aung San Suu Kyi and also Win Myint, the president,” Biden said.

“The military must relinquish power.”

Biden’s remarks come after European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned the bloc could impose fresh sanctions on Myanmar’s military, but said any measures should be targeted to avoid hitting the wider population.

Biden said the US would “work with our international partners to urge other nations to join us in these efforts”.

The military justified last week’s power grab by claiming widespread voter fraud in the November polls, which saw a landslide for Suu Kyi’s party.

It quickly moved to stack courts and political offices with loyalists.

In the 10 days since army chief Min Aung Hlaing ousted the Nobel laureate from power and ended a decade of civilian rule, Myanmar has been roiled by a burgeoning civil disobedience campaign and massive street protests.

The UN Human Rights Council has said it would hold a special session on Friday to discuss the crisis.