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US sanctions based on ‘unreliable accusations’: Myanmar

MNA Exclusive Desk: Myanmar “feels sad” over a US decision to sanction a military general, a government spokesman said, after Washington linked the commander last week to abuses against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

“This targeted sanction is based on unreliable accusations without evidence, as we have repeatedly said, so we feel sad for that,” said Zaw Htay, spokesman for Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, reported news agency.

The Trump administration announced on Dec 21 that it was sanctioning Major General Maung Maung Soe, who was in charge of a crackdown on the Rohingya minority.

The United States, as well as the United Nations, have called the crackdown “ethnic cleansing”.

About 655,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine state and sought shelter over the border in Bangladesh, according to the United Nations.

The United States said American officials had “examined credible evidence of Maung Maung Soe’s activities, including allegations against Burmese security forces of extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, and arbitrary arrest as well as the widespread burning of villages”.

The military and the civilian government of Suu Kyi have denied allegations of widespread abuse in Rakhine.

The testimonies of Rohingya refugees were only “talking stories”, Zaw Htay said, adding that Myanmar would act if it received “reliable and strong evidence” that its troops committed crimes.

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