"We're not done" with sanctions on Myanmar junta and its supporters, says U.S. envoy

Soldiers stand next to military vehicles as people gather to protest against the military coup, in Yangon
Soldiers stand next to military vehicles as people gather to protest against the military coup, in Yangon, Myanmar, February 15, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo/File Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Washington will continue to impose sanctions on Myanmar's military and those who have helped the junta that seized power a year ago, U.S. State Department Counselor Derek Chollet said on Wednesday.

The United States, along with Britain and Canada, this week imposed the latest round of sanctions on people and organizations connected with Myanmar, targeting judicial officials involved in prosecutions against Aung San Suu Kyi, the deposed leader who has been detained since the coup on Feb. 1, 2021.

"And we’re not done," Chollet said. "There are those who are behind the coup or helped the coup, there’s also those who are working to undermine the democratic path inside Burma, and we’ll continue to look closely at any individual or entity that is part of that."

The coup triggered strikes and protests that led to about 1,500 civilians being killed in crackdowns and around 11,800 unlawfully held, according to United Nations human rights office figures.

Myanmar's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In the past, the military has rejected allegations of abuses, accused its international critics of ignoring abuses by its opponents and said it can withstand sanctions and international isolation.

Speaking in a virtual event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Chollet said the Biden administration had now imposed sanctions on 65 individuals and sanctioned or placed export controls on 26 organizations "with close regime ties."

The U.S. sanctions announced on Monday included one Myanmar businessman targeted for helping the military procure arms and another for giving it financial support.

Chollet said Washington was in regular contact with opponents of the military, including the National Unity Government, a parallel administration that wants the West to do more to squeeze the junta.

Chollet has met with officials in Singapore, Myanmar's biggest source of foreign investment in recent years, to discuss ways to limit the military's access to financial assets overseas.

U.S. Treasury officials are "working very, very intensively" with Singapore to find ways to influence the Myanmar military's thinking, Chollet said.

Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

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