The International Monetary Fund last week sent $350 million in cash to the Myanmar government, part of a no-strings-attached emergency aid package to help the country battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Days later, military leaders seized power and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected officials, in what the US State Department said on Tuesday constituted a coup.
There appears to be little the IMF can do to claw back the funds, part of rapid-disbursing COVID-19 financing programs with almost no conditions and approved by the IMF board on Jan. 13, sources familiar with the payments and international finance experts said.
“We are following the unfolding developments closely. We are deeply concerned about the impact of events on the economy and on the people of Myanmar,” an IMF spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Tuesday, confirming the payment was completed last week.
US President Joe Biden, facing his first international crisis since taking office less than two weeks ago, has threatened new sanctions against the generals, and the State Department said it would review its foreign assistance to the southeast Asian country.