EU slaps sanctions on 9 more top Myanmar officials

Feb 19, 2023, 5:21 PM | Updated: Feb 20, 2023, 8:12 am
Denmark's Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, center, speaks with Poland's Foreign Minister Zbig...

Denmark's Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, center, speaks with Poland's Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, right, during a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023. European Union foreign ministers meet Monday to discuss Ukraine, Afghanistan and the situation in Iran. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union announced Monday that it has imposed sanctions on nine officials in Myanmar and seven entities, including government departments and companies, linked to rising violence, human rights abuses and security threats.

The 27-nation bloc imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on the officials — among them the energy minister and top military brass — over “actions that threaten the peace, security or stability of Myanmar.” It also froze the assets in Europe of defense ministry departments and several companies.

Myanmar languished under strict military rule for five decades. That led to international isolation and sanctions. As the generals loosened their grip, and Aung San Suu Kyi became leader in 2015 elections, the international community eased most of the sanctions and poured investment into the country.

That ended with a military coup on Feb. 1, 2021. It was launched after the military rejected the results of November 2020 elections, which were won overwhelmingly by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.

The takeover was met with massive public opposition, which has since turned into armed resistance and what some United Nations experts have called a civil war.

According to the military and media reports last week, the military government plans to allow people who are “loyal to the nation,” including government employees and retired military personnel, to carry licensed firearms.

The new sanctions, endorsed by EU foreign ministers, mean that a total of 93 people and 18 agencies, companies or organizations have now been targeted. The bloc also has an arms embargo in place, as well as a ban on equipment that can be used for internal repression or for monitoring communications.

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EU slaps sanctions on 9 more top Myanmar officials