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Mr. Kerry, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he looked to the Burmese government to release all political prisoners and allow Mrs. Suu Kyi and other democracy advocates to speak freely and move about the country.

“In the coming weeks and months, the world will watch closely to see whether Burma’s new leaders begin the journey toward genuine democracy, peace and respect for fundamental human rights, or whether they remain mired in the failed policies of the past,” Mr. Kerry said, adding, “A shift toward more inclusive, responsive, and democratic governance will allow the long-suffering people of Burma to better their lives, and, over time, will create opportunities for the government of Burma to improve relations with the United States and begin to repair its much-tarnished international reputation.”