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EU to impose sanctions in response to Myanmar coup

An estimated 250 anti-coup protesters have been killed so far in Myanmar

An estimated 250 anti-coup protesters have been killed so far in Myanmar

The European Union is set to approve sanctions against individuals tied to the Myanmar coup, the bloc's chief diplomat Josep Borrell said Monday as he arrived for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

"We are going to take sanctions against 11 persons involved in the coup and the repression of the demonstrators," Borrell said, adding that the ongoing crackdown in Myanmar was intensifying.

The names of the individuals will be made public once the sanctions are officially agreed to by the ministers.

The sanctions would mark the most significant EU response so far to the coup. At least 250 people have been killed so far in violent crackdowns on the ongoing anti-junta protests.

Germany calls for 'peaceful solution'

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday that the EU intends to only target individuals who are responsible for violence in Myanmar.

"The number of murders has reached an unbearable extent, which is why we will not be able to avoid imposing sanctions," Maas told reporters as he arrived in Brussels.

"We don't intend to punish the people of Myanmar but those who blatantly violate human rights," he said.

"We are still pushing to stay in dialogue for a peaceful solution, " he added.

UN calls for 'firm' measures

UN rapporteur Tom Andrews had urged the international community to cut the coup leaders' access to resources and called for sanctions in response to their "ruthless" attacks on people.

"The world must respond by cutting their access to money and weapons," he tweeted.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also condemned the military’s continuing violent crackdown.

A "firm, unified international response" is urgently needed, he said, according to his spokesman.

Where are the sanctions targeted?

The EU's initial round of measures is not expected to target businesses run by the military, but EU diplomats said some of these entities would likely be placed under sanctions in the coming weeks.

Parts of the military's conglomerates, Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), are likely to be targeted, Reuters news agency reported citing EU diplomats.

These kind of measures targeting Myanmar's conglomerates, which range from mining to manufacturing, would block EU investors and banks from conducting business.

The EU has had an arms embargo on Myanmar since 2018, and has already targeted several senior army officials with sanctions.

Other EU sanctions target human rights abuses

Outside of Myanmar, the EU ministers are also expected to endorse sanctions against various individuals and entities for human rights atrocities.

Under consideration are sanctions against four individuals and one entity from China for their involvement in human rights abuses of the Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang province.

The EU is also on course to sanction several individuals and entities from North Korea, Russia, Libya, Eritrea and South Sudan over human rights abuses, according to diplomatic sources.

mvb/wmr (dpa, Reuters)

Updated : 2022-05-19 14:46 GMT+08:00