The Myanmarese militarys actions on February 1, having deposed the duly-elected head of government, constituted a military coup detat, the US said on Tuesday, a determination that kicked off the process of sanctions on Myanmar.
The United States is deeply concerned by the Myanmarese militarys detention of civilian government leaders, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and civil society leaders, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his maiden news conference.
“After a review of all the facts, we have assessed that the Burmese militarys actions on February 1, having deposed the duly-elected head of government, constituted a military coup detat.
“The United States will continue to work closely with our partners throughout the region and the world to support respect for democracy and the rule of law in Burma, as well as to promote accountability for those responsible for overturning Burmas democratic transition,” he said.
Responding to questions, Price said the assessment was based on the facts and circumstances that the Myanmarese military deposed Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmars ruling party, and President Win Myint, the duly elected head of government, in a military coup detat on February 1.
“The annual Department of State Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriation Act contains a recurring provision of restricting certain assistance to the government of a military — and these are the criteria we looked at — the duly elected head of government is deposed by a military coup detat or decree or a coup detat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.
“The US is providing nearly USD 135 million in bilateral assistance to Burma in FY 2020. Only a portion of that, a very small portion, is assistance to the government. We are going to work expeditiously to determine the implications for Burmas military leaders for their actions here. But there is a small sliver of that foreign assistance that would actually be implicated,” Price said.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that President Joe Biden called him and spoke on the issue of Myanmar.
“I think it is an area where we, on a bipartisan basis, ought to support the strongest possible sanctions the administration can levy against any of these military leaders that we have not levied sanctions against. And do it with one voice and try to unify the rest of the world in our position, up to and including maybe trying to do something in the UN to see if the Russians and the Chinese would actually veto it,” he said.
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