Biden Urges Myanmar Military To Relinquish Power and Free Detainees

By The Irrawaddy 5 February 2021

YANGON – US President Joe Biden has pushed the military regime in Myanmar to relinquish power and release its detainees in his first foreign policy speech on Thursday, a day after the country’s civilian leaders were sued.

Biden said the US has been in close cooperation with its allies and partners to support the restoration of democracy and the rule of law and impose sanctions on those responsible.

Biden already warned of new sanctions on Myanmar’s military following Monday’s coup. Washington said it would review its assistance programs to Myanmar to ensure they align with conditions.

“There can be no doubt, in a democracy, force should never seek to overrule the will of the people or attempt to erase the outcome of a credible election,” Biden said.

The National League for Democracy won the Nov. 8 general election by a landslide. The military seized power a few hours before the new parliament was set to convene. The regime sued State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint under the Export and Import Law and Natural Disaster Management Law respectively, with both charges carrying up to three years’ imprisonment.

Biden also urged the military to lift restrictions on telecommunications and refrain from violence.

On Thursday, the military also ordered internet service providers to block Facebook after a civil disobedience campaign largely emerged on the platform.

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday “deep concern” at the declaration of the state of emergency imposed by the military and called for the release of those detained, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Myint.

It stressed the need to uphold democratic institutions and processes, refrain from violence and respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.

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