Key senator to let Myanmar sanctions bill lapseMay 21, 2013 @ 1:24 pm
WASHINGTON (AP) - The top Senate Republican says he plans to let key sanctions legislation against Myanmar (mee-an-MAWR') lapse because of the country's progress toward democracy.
Sen. Mitch McConnell made the announcement Tuesday after meeting with Myanmar's president, Thein Sein (tayn sayn).
The office of the bill's co-sponsor, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The legislation authorizes an import ban. It has been renewed annually since it was passed in 2003, but was among the broad economic sanctions, including a ban on U.S. investment, that was waived by President Barack Obama last year to reward Myanmar's shift from authoritarian rule.
McConnell said the administration has offered an olive branch to Myanmar's government, and it's time for Congress to do the same.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Lawmakers are asking Myanmar President Thein Sein (tayn sayn) to free nearly 250 political prisoners.
Thein Sein met Tuesday with members of the Senate and House on Capitol Hill, a day after he became the first Myanmar leader to visit the White House in five decades.
As Myanmar has shifted from military rule in the past two years, it has freed hundreds of political detainees but others are still held.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and three other Democrats handed Thein Sein a prisoner list and called for an end to attacks on minorities.
President Barack Obama voiced strong support Monday for Thein Sein's leadership, but said violence against minority Muslims needs to stop.
Thein Sein also met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to discuss political reform.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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