WASHINGTON (AP) -- The leader of the U.S. Senate says Washington should not provide trade benefits to Myanmar until after November elections that will signal the state of political reform in the former pariah state.
Republican Mitch McConnell is a prominent voice in Congress on U.S. policy toward Myanmar. In a speech Thursday, he criticized the quasi-civilian government for blocking changes to the constitution.
The junta-era constitution gives the military a veto on any amendments and prevents opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for the presidency.
McConnell said the government "took a step backward from the path to more representative government."
He said additional steps to normalize relations, such as including Myanmar in a program that provides duty-free benefits to poor countries, should be put on hold until after the vote.