The United States (US) is currently at a turning point in the decision-making process on how best to handle the crisis in Myanmar, which is currently controlled by the military, by considering further political and economic steps to pressure the incumbent government to suppress its behavior. .
In an interview with the news agency Associated Press On Thursday (21/10), U.S. State Department Adviser Derek Chollet said “the situation inside Burma (another name for Myanmar.red) is deteriorating, both from a humanitarian point of view, as well as from a security, economic and political perspective.”
America has been one of the most vocal nations against the military takeover of power that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government on February 1. Suu Kyi was arrested and detained along with influential members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Party, including President Win Myint.
A detailed tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners found security forces responsible for the killing of nearly 1,200 civilians and the arrests of more than 9,043 since February 1.
Chollet, who serves as an advisor to the foreign minister, was interviewed online while the American delegation was in Indonesia following a trip to Thailand and Singapore, ahead of the annual ASEAN summit in Brunei Darussalam where the situation in Myanmar is likely to be the main focus of the meeting.
“We think we have the tools that can help stem the worst from happening in the near future. But as I said, I think we are at a turning point,” Chollet said. There are political and economic factors that can be taken into account to “put pressure on regimes to try to give them some kind of incentive to change their behavior.”
“Part of what we do as Americans is to step in and not dictate terms, but to offer our best perspectives and hear from different partners in the region,” he added.
In talks with the three main ASEAN members, the American delegation managed to “get an idea of the best way forward.”
The United States – along with Britain and the European Union – has imposed sanctions on a number of Myanmar military officials and state-owned companies, including those dealing in the lucrative timber and gems business. The timber and gems business has long been considered a source of income for the Myanmar military.
But activists are quick to point out that the sanctions do not yet cover American and French oil and gas companies operating in Myanmar, which allows the military to retain its biggest source of foreign currency revenue.
This allows them to make purchases such as refined oil or refined petroleum, weapons, packaged drugs and other imported drugs. [em/lt]