A bipartisan group of US senators on Tuesday urged the Biden administration to impose more sanctions on the military regime that has taken over Myanmar.
The letter was signed by senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Susan Collins (R-ME), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ed Markey (D-MA), and addressed to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The senators urged that the administration place the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) under sanctions, as it is one of the largest sources of foreign revenue for the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar military. The letter noted that gas revenues from joint ventures with multinational companies like Chevron and Total generate over a billion dollars a year.
They recommended that money generated by such joint ventures should instead be funneled into a trust account “held until such time as Burma has a legitimate and democratically-elected government or used for humanitarian purposes.” They suggested that the multinationals could currently use the force majeure and other contractual clauses to take action, but have not because they fear for the safety of their local personnel. Establishing new sanctions on MOGE, the senators argue, would allow these companies to cease paying the revenues that support the regime.
More than 750 people have been killed by the military since the February 1 coup, and many more rounded up and jailed, while daily protests against the regime continue to take place throughout the country.