WASHINGTON - U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he would not support a resolution targeting Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi over the treatment of the country's Rohingya Muslims, and said Washington should not be "lecturing" her.
"I don't favour a resolution going after her," McConnell, who has been engaged with issues related to Myanmar for years.
"I think she's the greatest hope that we have to move Myanmar from where it has been, a military dictatorship, to where I hope it's going."
Senators John McCain, a Republican, and Richard Durbin, a Democrat, introduced a resolution last week condemning the violence and urging Suu Kyi to act.
But McConnell said he did not support the resolution.
International pressure has been mounting on Myanmar to end violence that has sent about 370,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh.
The Trump administration has called for protection of civilians, and Bangladesh has urged safe zones so refugees can return home.
While Washington has been a staunch supporter of Myanmar's transition from decades of harsh military rule being led by Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate has been criticised as doing too little to stop the violence.
In addition to co-sponsoring the resolution, McCain, the influential chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Tuesday he would seek to remove U.S. military cooperation with Myanmar from a sweeping defence policy bill now making its way through Congress.
The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, had called for expanded military cooperation.
"While I had hoped the NDAA could contribute to positive reform in Myanmar, I can no longer support expanding military-to-military cooperation given the worsening humanitarian crisis and human rights crackdown against the Rohingya people," McCain said in a statement. – Reuters