Singapore says Myanmar situation ‘alarming’, but no need for sanctions

Protesters hold up signs with an image of Aung Saan Suu Kyi, demanding her release during a demonstration in front of the US embassy in central Yangon on Tuesday. (AFP photo)

Singapore’s foreign minister on Tuesday spoke out about “alarming developments” in Myanmar but said he did not support widespread sanctions on the country in response to a coup there.

Vivian Balakrishnan said in his address to the parliament that he hoped senior government officials could be released including Civilian Leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint so they can negotiate with the ruling military council that took power in the beginning of the month.

As a major investor in Myanmar, Singapore was concerned about violent clashes at protests, the arrests of civil servants, internet blackouts and troop deployments and armoured vehicles in city streets, Balakrishnan said.

“These are alarming developments. We urge the authorities to exercise utmost restraint,” he added.

“We hope they will take urgent steps to de-escalate the situation. There should be no violence against unarmed civilians. And we hope that there will be peaceful resolution.”

Imposing broad sanctions would hurt the population in Myanmar, where poverty was rife, he said, adding he had conveyed that in discussions with western counterparts, including Germany.

The United States and Britain are among countries that have announced or threatened sanctions in response to the Myanmar coup.

“We should not embark on widespread generalised indiscriminate sanctions because the people who will suffer most will be the ordinary people in Myanmar,” he said.

Original writer: REUTERS
Source: Bangkok Post