President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the United States will impose sanctions on Myanmar's military leaders after last week's coup in the country and reiterated calls for the immediate release of Aung Sang Suu Kyi and other detained leaders.
In the brief address, the President said the ongoing issue in Myanmar is a matter of 'deep bipartisan concern' and he has approved a new executive order allowing the US to "immediately sanction the military leaders who directed the coup, their business interests as well as close family members."
"Today I again call on the Burmese military to immediately release democratic political leaders and activists they are now detaining including Aung San Suu Kyi and also Win Myint, the president."
"The military must relinquish power," he said.
Biden said that his administration was cutting off the generals' access to $1 billion in funds in the United States and would soon unveil new sanctions.
"I've approved a new executive order enabling us to immediately sanction the military leaders who directed the coup, their business interests as well as close family," Biden said.
"We're freezing US assets that benefit the Burmese government," he said.
Biden said his administration would identify targets of those sanctions in the coming days "and we're also going to impose strong export controls."
However, the country will continue supporting health care, civil society groups and other areas that benefit the people of Burma directly.
"And finally, as protests grow, violence against those asserting their democratic rights is unacceptable and we're going to keep calling it out. The people of Burma are making their voices heard and the world is watching. We'll be ready to impose additional measures and we'll continue to work with our international partners to urge other nations to join us in these efforts," the president concluded.
Last week, the US State Department made a formal declaration that the military takeover constituted a coup d'état, a designation that requires the United States to cut its foreign assistance to the country's government.
The armed forces seized control of the country last week after detaining top government figures, including leader Suu Kyi and Win Myint, after months of increasing friction between the civilian government and the military, known as the Tatmadaw, over the allegedly fraudulent election.
The State Department's efforts to make contact with Suu Kyi have been denied, said spokesperson Ned Price Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the effort would go beyond unilateral actions to include "working with our partners and allies, including in the region, to determine the right ways to put pressure on and have engagement."
She added that there are "ongoing discussions and talks with our partners and allies in Asia and Europe, and you know there's certainly a recognition that this will need to be a coordinated effort."