Biden threatens Myanmar with sanctions following coup
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Biden threatens Myanmar with sanctions following coup

US President Joe Biden threatened to reimpose sanctions on Myanmar Monday in response to the military seizing power and detaining its civilian leadership.

Biden said the actions "are a direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law," adding that his administration would immediately review the 2016 decision to lift the economic penalties amid hopes then of a peaceful transition to a democratic government.

"The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy," Biden said in a statement using the US government's name for Myanmar. "The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action."

On Sunday, Myanmar's military declared a state of emergency hours after detaining de facto leader and State Counsellor Suu Kyi, and other senior members of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD).

The coup took place hours before the first session of the country's new parliament was set to convene following November's elections in which the NLD made sweeping gains. The military claimed the coup was staged due to “election fraud” in the polls that it said resulted in the dominance of the NLD in parliament.

Biden called on the Myanmar military to immediately respect the "progress" towards a democratic transition in the country while urging the international community to "come together in one voice to press the Burmese military to immediately relinquish the power they have seized."

"In a democracy, force should never seek to overrule the will of the people or attempt to erase the outcome of a credible election," the US president said. "The United States is taking note of those who stand with the people of Burma in this difficult hour."

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