Monday, May 21, 2012

Suu Kyi to visit Ireland

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Monday, 21 May 2012 12:35 Mizzima News

(Mizzima) - Between trips to Norway and Britain in mid-June, Aung San Suu Kyi will pay a one-day visit to Ireland, according to a spokesman for Amnesty International Ireland. The exact date of the visit has not been confirmed.

Suu Kyi, 66, intends to go to Ireland during a trip already announced by her party to Britain and Norway.

NLD opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi Photo: MIzzima

In Norway, she will receive her long deferred Nobel Peace Prize, awarded in 1991 while she was under house arrest in Rangoon.

In Britain, she will address a joint session of Parliament. Britain is the former home of Suu Kyi, where she lived with her British husband and two sons before she returned to Burma to visit her sick mother in 1988, and consequently became irrevocably involved in Burma’s pro-democracy movement.

In Ireland, she is expected to be presented with a number of honours awarded to her during her years under house arrest. In 1990, she received the freedom of Dublin City award.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore told the local media, “I look forward to the opportunity a visit presents to discuss with Suu Kyi how Ireland can further assist the people of Burma.”

An Amnesty spokesman said its artists' liaison division, Arts for Amnesty, had been working on the plan to bring Suu Kyi to Dublin.

Suu Kyi, now a Member of Parliament, has not left Burma since 1988, fearing the government would not allow her to return. Since 2011, she has been working under an informal understanding with President Thein Sein, a former general, who began a sweeping program of democratic reforms after coming to power last year.

Ireland’s former minister for foreign affairs, Miche├íl Martin, spoke with Suu Kyi in a telephone conversation during his term of office. He told the Irish Times how much Suu Kyi said appreciated the support she had received from Ireland.

“She wanted to convey her deep thanks and appreciation to the people of Ireland for their support,” Martin said at the time. “She was anxious to develop closer links with Ireland, particularly on the diplomatic side, in terms of getting easier mechanisms for contact.”

During the conversation, Suu Kyi made reference to the Burmese being referred to as “the Irish of the east” during colonial times, and expressed interest in learning more about the Northern Ireland peace process, the article said.

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