March 25 (UPI) -- The United States and Britain announced Thursday sanctions on businesses controlled by the Myanmar military, which took control of the country in a coup on Feb. 1, leading to the detainment of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
"The United States stands with the people of Burma and urges a return to its democratically elected government," Andrea M. Gacki, director of the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement. "By designating MEC and MEHL, Treasury is targeting the Burmese military's control of significant segments of the Burmese economy, which is a vital financial lifeline for the military junta."
The Treasury statement said all property and interests in property of MEC and MEHL in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons will be blocked and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
The British government pointed to the Myanmar military's campaign on "ethnic cleansing" against the Rohingya in 2017, and accused it of human rights violations.
"Today's sanctions target the military's financial interests to help drain the sources of finance for their campaigns of repression against civilians," British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.
Britain also temporarily suspended all trade promotions with Myanmar while it "reshaped" its trade approach with the country.