US leads world condemnation of Myanmar's military coup

AFP , Monday 1 Feb 2021

Governments around the world in calling for the restoration of Myanmar's democracy after the military staged a coup, arresting civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians

Protesters from the civil society hold placards during a protest in Kathmandu on February 1, 2021, after Myanmar's military seized power in a bloodless coup on Monday, detaining democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi as it imposed a one-year state of emergency. AFP

The United States on Monday led governments around the world in calling for the restoration of Myanmar's democracy after the military staged a coup, arresting civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians.

United States 

The United States "will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed", White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

She added that Washington opposed any attempt to alter the outcome of the November elections, which saw Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) win in an overwhelming landslide, but sparked allegations of vote irregularities by the routed military-backed party.

New US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also called on Myanmar's military "to release all government officials and civil society leaders and respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8".

Before the coup, Washington, alongside several other Western nations, had urged the military to "adhere to democratic norms" in a January 29 statement that came as the commander-in-chief threatened to revoke the country's constitution.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the coup and Suu Kyi's imprisonment.

"The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released," he tweeted.


China, which regularly opposes UN intervention in Myanmar, called for all sides to "resolve differences".

"China is a friendly neighbour of Myanmar and hopes the various parties in Myanmar will appropriately resolve their differences under the constitutional and legal framework to protect political and social stability," foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing.


In a statement, Russia's foreign ministry called for "a peaceful settlement of the situation, in accordance with the law in force, through the resumption of political dialogue".

United Nations 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "strongly" condemned the military's detention of Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other leaders.

"These developments represent a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar," spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

European Union 

European Council President Charles Michel strongly condemned the coup.

"The outcome of the elections has to be respected and democratic process needs to be restored," the former Belgian prime minister tweeted.


"We call on the military to respect the rule of law, to resolve disputes through lawful mechanisms and to release immediately all civilian leaders and others who have been detained unlawfully," Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said.


"We hope that the democratic process and constitutional arrangements will be upheld in Myanmar," the foreign ministry in Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya live in refugee camps, said in a statement.

"As an immediate and friendly neighbour, we would like to see peace and stability in Myanmar."


"We have noted the developments in Myanmar with deep concern. India has always been steadfast in its support to the process of democratic transition in Myanmar. We believe that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld," India's Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.


Japan urged Myanmar's military to free Suu Kyi and to restore democracy.

"We request the release of stakeholders including state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi," Japan's foreign ministry said in a statement, urging "the national army to quickly restore the democratic political system in Myanmar".

ASEAN Countries 

Both Singapore and Indonesia called for restraint from all sides, but Philippine presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the situation was an "internal matter".

"Our primary concern is the safety of our people," he said. "Our armed forces are on standby in case we need to airlift them as well as navy ships to repatriate them if necessary."


Bob Rae, Canada's ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted that Myanmar's military "wrote the Constitution this way so they could do this".

"The Constitution of 2008 was specifically designed to ensure military power was deeply entrenched and protected," he said.


Norway, Sweden and Denmark condemned the military's seizure of power.

"We urge military leaders to adhere to democratic norms and respect the outcome of the elections," Norway's foreign ministry tweeted.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said civilian leaders and others "unlawfully detained must be released immediately and unconditionally".

Denmark's Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said "military under civilian control is a key democratic principle".


The Turkish government, itself the target of a military coup in 2016, condemned the takeover and called for the politicians' release.

"Turkey opposes all kinds of coups and we expect the immediate release of elected leaders, political figures and civilians who have been detained," the Turkish foreign ministry said.

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