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US Secretary of State vows 'firm action' against Myanmar military authorities

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    Reuters

Washington, United States   /   Mon, February 22, 2021   /   11:58 am
US Secretary of State vows 'firm action' against Myanmar military authorities US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to staff at the US State Department during the first visit of US President Joe Biden in Washington, DC. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on February 15, 2021, for an investigation into a rocket attack on an airbase in Iraq's Kurdistan region and promised to (AFP/Saul Loeb)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a Sunday night Twitter post that the United States would continue to "take firm action" against authorities violently cracking down on opponents of the military coup in Myanmar, after two protesters were shot dead over the weekend.

The United States stands with "the people of Burma as they demand the restoration of their democratically elected government," Blinken wrote in the post, which came ten days after the United States imposed sanctions on Myanmar's acting president and several other military officers.

Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers are expected later today to approve sanctions against those behind Russia's crackdown on Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his supporters, as well as those responsible for the coup in Myanmar.

The top diplomats from the 27-nation bloc meet in Brussels for talks that will also include a wide-ranging videoconference with new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

But it will be responses to a raft of abuses in various regions that will dominate, with Venezuelan authorities also in the crosshairs over widely-criticised elections last year.

The move to target the Kremlin comes two weeks after EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was caught in a diplomatic ambush in Moscow that enraged member states.

Capitals are eyeing using the EU's new human rights sanctions regime for the first time to hit individuals responsible for the clampdown with asset freezes and visa bans, diplomats said.

"I expect a political agreement to be reached," a senior European diplomat told AFP.