EU set to expand Myanmar sanctions to military-linked firms
The European Union is set to impose more sanctions next week over the coup and crackdown in Myanmar, targeting 10 individuals and two businesses controlled by the military, European diplomats said Friday.
The measures -- expected to be unveiled following a virtual meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday -- come after the bloc hit junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and 10 other senior officials with sanctions last month over the February 1 seizure of power and bloody suppression of protests.
Diplomats said the fresh round of EU asset freezes and visas bans will be expanded to two firms tied to the military as Western powers seek to increase presssure on Myanmar's new leadership by targeting their key moneymakers.
The US and Britain have imposed sanctions on two conglomerates -- the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) -- that dominate many sectors of the resource-rich Southeast Asian country's economy, including trading, alcohol, cigarettes and consumer goods.
Washington has also hit Myanmar's state gem company, that manages the mining and marketing of the country's jade and other precious stones.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military seized power from civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, triggering a massive uprising that the junta has sought to quell using lethal force.
So far more than 700 civilians have been killed in anti-coup unrest, according to a local monitoring group, and more than 3,000 have been detained.