Myanmar military unfazed by looming sanctions

Myanmar’s military is unfazed by looming sanctions with generals saying they are ready to withstand being isolated by the international world. UN special envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener says at least 38 more people have been killed as of today with thousands fleeing an industrial suburb of Yangon after 40 people were killed there on last Sunday. Residents also report that several factories were set on fire.

Schraner Burgener urged countries to “take very strong measures” to restore democracy in Myanmar. And, after warning Myanmar’s deputy military chief Soe Win, of strong sanctions and isolation from some countries, he allegedly responded with little concern, according to Chiang Rai Times.

“The answer was: ‘We are used to sanctions, and we survived’,” she told reporters in New York. “When I also warned they will go in an isolation, the answer was: ‘We have to learn to walk with only few friends’.”

Western countries, including the United States, Britain, Canada and the European Union, are considering sanctions against Myanmar, with some already carrying them out in an effort to freeze out assets.

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The UN Security Council has also criticised the junta, but have not condemned its actions because of China and Russia’s reluctance to get involved. Historically, they have been allies of the Myanmar government, and view the current state of emergency as part of Myanmar’s internal affairs. But Schraner Burgener points to the current instability as affecting more than just Myanmar.

“I hope that they recognise that it’s not only an internal affair, it hits the stability of the region.”

“Clearly, in my view, the tactic was now to investigate NLD people to put them in prison. At the end the NLD will be banned and then they have a new election, where they want to win, and then that they can continue to be in power.”

The military took over the government on February 1 in a coup citing the democratic elections of last November were fraudulent. Those elections saw the National League For Democracy, in which nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi aligned herself, winning in a landslide victory. Since the coup, Suu Kyi was arrested and detained on multiple charges, along with other top members of the NLD.

“Today we have young people who lived in freedom for 10 years, they have social media, and they are well organized and very determined. They don’t want to go back in a dictatorship and in isolation.”

Soe Win allegedly told Schraner Burgener in a letter that, “after a year they want to have another election.”

Schraner Burgener says that she believes the military is suprised by the backlash against the coup as it has received widespread international condemnation. But that hasn’t stopped the junta from cracking down against anti-coup demonstrators, with today being the deadliest day yet since the February 1 coup.

Meanwhile, The Royal Thai Army is planning to set up refugee camps in the provinces of Ranong and Chumphon to help house those fleeing the escalating violence in Myanmar.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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