October 24, 2021

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Western powers join forces with sanctions against Belarus and Myanmar

During the EU Council of Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg this Monday, new rounds of sanctions were imposed on senior Belarusian and Burmese commanders. The governments of the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom impose these measures. Both the Belarusian and Myanmar rulers have been accused of violating fundamental rights and suppressing protesters in the struggles put forward by thousands of citizens against those administrations.

Western nations are once again speaking out against the violation of fundamental freedoms by their leaders in Myanmar and Belarus.

The European Union (EU), the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada on Monday imposed comprehensive sanctions on Belarusian companies and officials, and called on Minsk to “end its repressive practices against its own people.”

The European Union (EU) has issued a travel ban on 78 officials and companies, including the Belarusian Minister of Defense and Transport and its air force commander, as well as judges and legislators.

The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement that it had “listed 16 individuals and five companies affiliated with the government of Alexander Lukashenko.” Washington’s move targets the president’s inner circle, his press secretary and chairman of the Council of the National Assembly, which oversees the Belarusian parliament.

The EU explained in a statement that the move would send a “strong signal” to supporters of the regime that their support for Lukashenko would come at a significant cost.

The United States has said its actions are in response to an “escalation of violence and repression.” Athens – After an unauthorized landing of a plane covering the Vilnius route, Last May, in the blatant Minsk maneuver to detain exiled opposition journalist Roman Protestantism.

Meanwhile, the UK has pointed out that it is adding a number of senior Belarusian officials and companies to its sanctions list, including the exporter of oil products.

The Belarusian economy is beginning to feel the effects of sanctions

Following these announcements, Belarusian sovereign bonds in dollars and credit instruments issued by the national government to support public spending fell on June 21.

File- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during a meeting with officials of the Commonwealth of Independent States on 28 May 2021 in Minsk, Belarus. © AFP / Dmitry Astakhov

The benchmark 2030 bond fell more than 3 cents, the biggest drop since the onset of the Govt-19 epidemic in March 2020, hitting the global market, reaching a record 2031 bond issue in June last year. From the international financial services firm Trotweb.

Opposition leader and former presidential candidate Sviatlana Sikana ous Skaya welcomed the pressure from the West. “The EU has decided that these sanctions are justified (…) I agree, we must put an end to the situation in our country and we do not want it to become North Korea,” Chikanuskaya told reporters in Brussels.

EU member states have warned that Belarus is preparing to impose sanctions on its financial, oil, tobacco and potash industries soon.

The EU imported $ 1.5 billion worth of chemicals from Belarus last year, including potash; As well as more than $ 1,000 million worth of related products such as oil and fuels and lubricants. The country is also dependent on loans from European business and development banks.

“After this horrific state hijacking we must tighten our thumbs (…) We want to attack the economic sector affiliated with the government, not the criminals, the suffering Belarusian people anyway,” said Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schaller.

The European Union has already imposed two rounds of sanctions Faced with the suppression of protests by the Lukashenko government against Belarusian individuals.

Despite this, the Belarusian administration sought to minimize the potential consequences of these measures. “We understand that they will create some difficulties for the Belarusian leadership, but trust me, the president, the government, will do everything to help the people get out of this difficult time with minimal losses,” Foreign Minister Vladimir Mackie was quoted as saying by the BELDA agency.

Myanmar gets third round of sanctions after regime change

The February 1 coup and the wave of violence and repression against protesters are affecting the funds of the Myanmar military junta and its 27 allies. The military junta also imprisons political leaders such as ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The European camp imposed a property freeze and travel ban on eight Burmese officials, including the interior minister in charge of the police force, and imposed sanctions on three state-owned or military-controlled companies and against war veterans. Organization.

File - Major General Min Aung Hlong, the leader of Myanmar's military junta that overthrew the government elected in the February 1, 2021 coup, leads a military parade on March 27, 2021 in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.  .
File – Major General Min Aung Hlong, the leader of Myanmar’s military junta that overthrew the government elected in the February 1, 2021 coup, leads a military parade on March 27, 2021 in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. . © Reuters / Stringer

The EU stressed that “by targeting the gem and timber sectors, these measures are aimed at restricting the group’s ability to benefit from Myanmar’s natural resources, while at the same time preventing unnecessary harm to the Myanmar people.”

In total, the block’s sanctions have now been extended to 43 individuals and six companies. The UK added three Burmese companies to its embargo list.

The coup d’tat and its subsequent crackdown on protesters have killed at least 860 people and arrested more than 4,500, according to a group of activists. The Board assures that the number is very low.

Until now, however, sanctions or mediated diplomatic efforts have had an obvious impact on the military establishment, claiming that a military coup would bring about “decent democracy.”

Among the new measures against military rule, Belarus and Russia have pledged to further strengthen ties between the two countries, including on security measures. Moscow has been isolated by activists to legalize the Burmese military, not only because of bilateral visits but also because of arms deals.

With Reuters and EFE

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