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Students attend a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of Myanmar Union Day in Naypyitaw © AP

The EU has imposed sanctions on nearly two dozen government and military officials from Myanmar and the state-backed oil and gas group, in the first steps targeting the regime’s lucrative energy group and regulator following a coup a year ago.

Asset freeze targets, unveiled by the European Council on Monday, included 22 government and military officials, including the junta’s foreign investment, industry and information ministers, as well as a mining operator state-backed and Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, a crucial source of revenue for the country’s ruling junta.

“Restrictive measures now apply to a total of 65 individuals and 10 entities, and include an asset freeze and a ban on making funds available to listed individuals and entities,” the council said in a statement.

Energy companies have come under particular pressure to divest Myanmar from militant campaigns to cut off funding from Burma’s junta, which toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi a year ago .

Natural gas projects generate about $1 billion a year for Myanmar’s government, which accounts for about 50% of its foreign exchange and makes it the junta’s biggest source of income.

The campaign has started to gain traction, with oil groups TotalEnergies and Chevron announcing last month that they would withdraw from the Yadana offshore gas field project, while Australia’s Woodside Petroleum announced that it would quit its plans to gas exploration in the country.

Last week, Japan’s Mitsubishi and Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas announced they would sell their stakes in yetagun, another gas project.


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