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“But reciprocity is the key word,” he told his hometown newspaper. “They take steps, we respond.”

Mr. McConnell’s support will be crucial for the appointment of an ambassador because the nomination will require Senate confirmation. Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen’s opposition carries symbolic weight, but the House has no role in the appointment of ambassadors.

“I am distressed that the administration is prematurely and publicly discussing any major concessions to the Myanmar regime, such as nominating an ambassador,” Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen said last week.

“I call on the administration to immediately cease talks with the ruthless tyrants in Myanmar until the junta has been replaced with a duly elected, democratic government that respects human rights and civil liberties.”

The United States withdrew its last ambassador, career Foreign Service officer Burton Levin, in September 1990 after the military rulers violently crushed pro-democracy demonstrations.

The U.S. Embassy has been run by a charge d’affaires, a diplomatic rank one step below an ambassador, since then.

Myanmar’s diplomatic mission in Washington, which the State Department still calls the Embassy of Myanmar, also is headed by a charge d’affaires.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email The column is published on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.