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Biden approves expanded Myanmar sanctions

US President Joe Biden said on 10 February that he has approved a new executive order introducing new and expanded sanctions on Myanmar military leaders responsible for the coup d’état that occurred in the country in early February.

Biden said in a White House briefing that the new directive would place restrictions on the military leaders and their assets and tighten US controls on exports to the Southeast Asian nation, which is also known as Burma. He added that the US government would formally identify sanction targets in a few days.

“Today I’ve approved a new executive order enabling us to immediately sanction the military leaders who directed the coup, their business interests, as well as close family members,” said Biden.

“We will identify a first round of targets this week. And we’re also going to impose strong export controls. And we’re freezing US assets that benefit the Burmese government, while maintaining our support for healthcare, civil society groups, and other areas that benefit the people of Burma directly.”

The White House has not elaborated on which groups will be targeted by the sanctions. However, it is expected that the restrictions will target, among other groups, the businesses owned and controlled by Myanmar’s military including conglomerates Myanmar Economic Holdings and Myanmar Economic Corporation.

Shortly after the coup took place the US government also threatened to renew economic sanctions on the country. The United States revoked these economic sanctions in 2016 after the country swore in its first democratically elected government in more than 50 years.

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