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UPDATE 2-U.S. senators look to back up Biden administration over Myanmar coup

· 02/04/2021 14:51
UPDATE 2-U.S. senators look to back up Biden administration over Myanmar coup

Adds details on resolution, Biden

- Democratic U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Todd Young will introduce a resolution on Thursday urging Myanmar's military to step back from this week's coup, Cardin told Reuters, backing up the Biden administration's pressure for the release of Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

"They have to make a choice," Cardin said, explaining that the purpose of the resolution is to show there will be consequences for the seizure of power.

"We have tools in place that can be used," Cardin said. Those could include reinstating sanctions lifted after Myanmar moved toward democracy or instituting targeted sanctions against military leaders involved in the coup, he added.

President Joe Biden said on Thursday that Myanmar's military should relinquish power and release officials and activists detained in the coup. nL1N2KA2KM

Myanmar's long, troubled transition to democracy was derailed on Monday when army commander Min Aung Hlaing took power, alleging irregularities in an election last November that Suu Kyi's party won in a landslide.

Cardin said he expected the resolution would come up for a vote in the Senate and receive strong bipartisan support. "I don't know of anyone in the Senate that supports the coup," he said.

Among other things, the resolution calls on Myanmar's military to release everyone detained as a result of the coup, restore all forms of communication, including internet access, and restore members of the civilian government to power.

It also calls on social media companies, particularly Facebook Inc FB.O, to suspend the accounts of military leaders and others who have used the platform to spread disinformation.

He said he and Young were reaching out to other lawmakers from both parties soliciting support for the measure.

In New York on Thursday, the U.N. Security Council called for the release of Suu Kyi and others detained by the military and voiced concern over the state of emergency, but stopped short of condemning this week's coup. L4N2KA47K

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Peter Cooney)

((patricia.zengerle@thomsonreuters.com, www.twitter.com/ReutersZengerle; 001-202-898-8390;))