2014-07-24T225223Z_1_LYNXMPEA6N116_RTROPTP_2_USA

Senior U.S. lawmaker: Myanmar must reform before more sanctions easing

Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) listens to members of the Republican Senate leadership after the Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jade and rubies from Myanmar will remain banned from the United States unless the Asian nation moves to end a provision in its constitution that bars opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president, a senior U.S. senator said on Thursday. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican party’s leader in the Senate, said there is little appetite in the U.S. Congress to reinstate stiff trade sanctions that were imposed on Myanmar during its decades of tough military rule. “It is hard to see how those provisions get lifted without there being progress on the constitutional eligibility issue and the closely related issue of the legitimacy of the 2015 elections,” said McConnell, who has taken a long-term interest in Myanmar and visited two years ago. Improving relations with Myanmar has been a priority with the U.S. government, but lately Washington has been concerned that the Asian nation also known as Burma is backing away from its reform agenda.

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