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Aung San Suu Kyi arrives in Geneva for European tour

14th June 2012, Comments0 comments


Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in Switzerland Wednesday on a historic European tour which will see her accept the Nobel Peace Prize that thrust her into the global spotlight two decades ago.

Suu Kyi, who has not visited Europe since 1988 after years spent under house arrest, arrived at Geneva airport at 11:15pm (2115 GMT), an airport spokesman said.

He said she left the aeroplane "smiling and seemingly in great form" after the flight from Munich, which was delayed for about 30 minutes.

The trip marks a new milestone in the political changes that have swept the country formerly known as Burma since decades of military rule ended last year, bringing to power a new quasi-civilian government.

Switzerland is the first stop on a more than two-week tour for Suu Kyi, who will visit Norway, Britain, France and Ireland.

She is due to deliver a speech in Oslo for her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.

Suu Kyi left Yangon as western Myanmar was rocked by sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya that has left dozens dead and prompted President Thein Sein to warn of disruption to the fragile reform process.

She will address the International Labour Organization (ILO) conference in Geneva on Thursday before travelling to Swiss capital Bern to meet President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter.

On Friday she will visit the Swiss parliament before heading for Oslo.

Later in the trip, the veteran activist will address Britain's parliament and receive an Amnesty International human rights award in Dublin from rock star Bono.

The daughter of Myanmar's independence hero General Aung San won her first ever seat in parliament in April, prompting Western nations to start rolling back sanctions.


© 2012 AFP

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