Myanmar's military junta must relinquish power: US

G7 foreign ministers called for the immediate and unconditional release of those detained arbitrarily, including State Counsellor Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

Published: 24th February 2021 11:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th February 2021 11:20 AM   |  A+A-

Anti-coup protesters flash the three-fingered salute in Yangon, Myanmar

Anti-coup protesters flash the three-fingered salute in Yangon, Myanmar. (Photo | AP)


WASHINGTON: Myanmar's military junta must relinquish power and restore the democratically-elected government, the US has said, asserting that it stands with the people and supports their aspirations in reinstating a civilian-led government in the country.

Myanmar's military early this month toppled the government and seized power for one year, detaining top political figures, including de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint in the bloodless coup.

"Our message to the junta has not changed.  They must relinquish power, they must restore the democratically elected government, and our message to the people of Burma has not changed," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday.

Price's remarks come a day after the United States announced an additional set of sanctions against the military leaders of Myanmar, which America and several western powers continue to call with its previous name of Burma.

"We stand with the people of Burma. We will continue, again, in concert with our like-minded allies and partners around the world to support their aspirations for the restoration of a civilian-led government in Burma," he said.

Burma's military leaders must see that their attempts to replace the democratically-elected government and its violent actions will have consequences, Price said.

The United States is not the only country taking action to promote accountability for the military leaders behind this coup, he said.

"In fact, we applauded the recent sanctions, the sanctions announcements that were made by the UK and Canada, as well as the announcement that the EU will look into its own measures," Price said.

The world is speaking with just about one voice when it comes to opposing the military coup in Burma and supporting the aspirations of the people of Burma to restore their civilian democratically-elected government.

The US will continue to offer that rhetorical support but also to take action in furtherance of those goals, he added.

"We will continue to pursue means on a policy basis to fulfill our goal to support the Burmese people and to restore democratic and civilian rule in Burma," Price said.

On Monday, the US designating two additional State Administrative Council (SAC) members, Maung Maung Kyaw and Moe Myint Tun.

"We call on the military and police to cease all attacks on peaceful protesters, immediately release all those unjustly detained, stop attacks on and intimidation of journalists and activists, and restore the democratically elected government," Secretary of State Tony Blinken said on Monday.

The US will continue to work with a broad coalition of international partners to promote accountability for coup leaders and those responsible for this violence, he said.

"We will not hesitate to take further action against those who perpetrate violence and suppress the will of the people.  We will not waver in our support for the people of Burma," he said.

Earlier in a statement, G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union "firmly" condemned violence committed by Myanmar's security forces against peaceful protests.

"We offer condolences for the loss of life. The military and the police must exercise utmost restraint and respect human rights and international law. The use of live ammunition against unarmed people is unacceptable. Anyone responding to peaceful protests with violence must be held to account," they said.

Condemning the intimidation and oppression of those opposing the coup, the G7 countries said the systematic targeting of protesters, doctors, civil society and journalists must stop, and the state of emergency must be revoked.

"We continue to call for full humanitarian access to support the most vulnerable," they said.

G7 foreign ministers called for the immediate and unconditional release of those detained arbitrarily, including State Counsellor Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.


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