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US orders departure of non-emergency government employees from Myanmar

Washington – The United States yesterday ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees and their family members from Myanmar due to civil unrest following the February military coup, the State Department said.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army ousted an elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, detaining her and reimposing military rule after a decade of tentative steps toward democracy.

The State Department said in a travel advisory that on Feb. 14 it had authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency US government employees and their family members from Myanmar, and had now “updated that status to ordered departure.”

The White House on Monday condemned the Myanmar military government’s killing of dozens of civilian protesters and renewed a call for the restoration of democracy.

The United States also said on Monday that it was immediately suspending all engagement with Myanmar under a 2013 trade and investment agreement until the return of a democratically elected government.

Earlier this month, the United States imposed sanctions on two members of Myanmar’s ruling junta, including the chief of police, and two military units, and blacklisted two conglomerates controlled by Myanmar’s military.

At least 512 civilians have been killed in nearly two months of protests against the coup, 141 of them on Saturday, the bloodiest day of the unrest, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group. — Reuters

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