US senator convinced Myanmar leader is reformer

By the Associated Press | January 17, 2012 | 11:15 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's top Republican says he is convinced the former general leading Myanmar is a reformer but that it would be premature to lift U.S. sanctions.

Mitch McConnell, an architect of the sanctions, said Tuesday he would take his cue on when to lift sanctions from opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (ahng sahn soo chee).

McConnell spoke to The Associated Press by phone from neighboring Thailand after he visited Myanmar, where he met Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein.

McConnell said he supports the Obama administration's decision to appoint an ambassador following Myanmar's release of hundreds of political prisoners last week. McConnell urged Myanmar to allow international observers at April elections.