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Australia Resists Call To Sanction Myanmar

Foreign Minister Marise Payne says imposing sanctions on Myanmar's military junta is not in Australia's interests.

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia is resisting global pressure to slap sanctions on the military junta in Myanmar despite major allies punishing the regime.

Hundreds have been killed by security forces since a February coup with thousands jailed, daily protests, and paralyzing strikes plunging Myanmar into chaos.

The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union have sanctioned military leaders and other key figures with ties to the junta.

Almost 400 civil society organizations last month urged Foreign Minister Marise Payne, condemning the government’s “shameful inaction”. Marise Ann Payne is an Australian politician who has been Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Morrison Government since 2018 and was also appointed Minister for Women in 2021. She has been a Senator for New South Wales since 1997, representing the Liberal Party.

Greens senator Janet Rice criticized the government for failing to follow the lead of key international allies. (James Ross/AAP Image)

Senator Payne said no countries in Australia’s region had used sanctions, with the government remaining focused on an Association of Southeast Asian Nations-led solution.

“Our consideration is not to impose them at this time. It’s not our view that they would advance our interests,” she told Senate estimates on June 3.

The foreign minister said the situation was under regular review.

“If there is a decision to impose sanctions we will do that if it’s appropriate and if it’s in the national interest to do so.”

Greens senator Janet Rice criticized the government for failing to follow the lead of key international allies.

“The current situation is extraordinarily disappointing and really quite dismissive of the calls from a huge range of civil society organizations,” she said.

Janet Elizabeth Rice is an Australian politician, member of the Australian Greens, former councilor and mayor of Maribyrnong, environmentalist, facilitator, and one of the founding members of the Victorian Greens. The Australian Greens Victoria, commonly known as the Victorian Greens or just as The Greens, is the Victorian state member party of the Australian Greens, a green political party in Australia.

Senator Payne rejected suggestions the government had brushed off concerns from organizations calling for sanctions.

“I absolutely disagree with you that this is dismissive,” she said.

“Sanctions are one aspect of the potential response, they are not everything. But I respect the views of those who suggest they believe they should be imposed.”

The government has steered aid away from the military, stopped defense cooperation, and supported ASEAN’s humanitarian agency with AU$5 million ($3.86 million). ASEAN; officially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is an economic union comprising 10 member states in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ritaban Misra)

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