The U.S. State Department says Burma's National Convention to draft a new constitution provides neither a credible process leading toward a more representative government, nor a means for genuine national reconciliation.
In a statement released Monday, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said the convention, being held near Rangoon, lacks credibility because it includes only hand-picked delegates, prohibits free and open debate and excludes Burma's democratic opposition and key ethnic groups.
Burmese officials call the constitutional talks a first step in the transition to what they call a "disciplined democracy."
Many Burmese political groups are absent from the talks - in particular, the National League for Democracy, which won Burma's last elections 15 years ago, but has never been allowed to govern.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.