Asia - Pacific

Myanmar's UN envoy urges US to take tougher line against junta

'We need the United States to take a decisive leadership role in helping resolve the Myanmar crisis,' says Kyaw Moe Tun

Michael Gabriel Hernandez   | 05.05.2021
Myanmar's UN envoy urges US to take tougher line against junta Police arrest an anti-coup protester during a protest against the military coup on February 26, 2021, in Yangon, Myanmar. ( Stringer - Anadolu Agency )

WASHINGTON 

The US should adopt a tougher line against Myanmar's ruling junta, including more punishing sanctions, a no-fly zone and supporting a recently formed unity government, the country's UN envoy said on Tuesday. 

Kyaw Moe Tun told the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that the situation in the country is in the midst of "an unfolding tragedy that continues to escalate over time," stressing that Myanma people "are seriously suffering from the military’s brutality and inhumane acts day and night."

"We need the United States to take a decisive leadership role in helping resolve the Myanmar crisis," the ambassador, who represents the elected government, said in congressional testimony. "Please do not let killing continue. Please act now. We will always remember the help and support of the United States."

Tun implored Washington to sanction Myanmar's state-owned oil and gas company, the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise, as well as a major state-owned bank.

The Biden administration has, to date, refrained from doing so, but has sanctioned top military officials, a handful of their close family members and enterprises that benefit from the military amid its ongoing bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

The military overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, detaining her and other leaders of the National League for Democracy, and cracked down with lethal force on anti-coup protesters.

In the three months that followed, 766 people have been killed and more than 3,600 others jailed, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners local monitoring group.

The ambassador stressed that the crisis is not just a threat to Myanmar’s nascent democracy but said it is “threatening regional peace and security.”



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