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Burma Opposition Leader In First Trip Abroad Since 1988


Burma's top opposition leader and former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi will travel to Norway and the UK in June for her first trip abroad in 15 years. Suu Kyi has not left the country since she was put under house arrest by the military junta after her party won a majority in 1990 parliamentary elections.

Suu Kyi's spokesman U Nyan Win confirmed she would visit Oslo, Norway and London. Although her house arrest did not barr her from undertaking international travel, Suu Kyi chose not to leave Burma because she would not be allowed to re-enter the country upon her return.

In Oslo, Suu Kyi will meet with members of the Nobel Laureatte committee. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 but was unable to accept the prize in person. She will then travel to the UK, the country where she met her late husband and attended Oxford University. Her husband died of cancer in 1999 during Suu Kyi's house arrest.

She is also expected to meet with Prime Minister David Cameron, who became the first foreign head of state to visit her in nearly 20 years last week.

The travel comes on the heels of parliamentary elections in Burma that many international observers said showed widespread corruption. Although the military junta retained its majority in parliament, Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) was allowed to run for office for the first time since 1990. Some consider the NLD's move to political freedom as a sign of a willingness by the junta to reform. Suu Kyi won a seat in parliament representing a Rangoon suburb.

Since the elections, Western countries like the United States have begun re-establishing diplomatic ties with the once reclusive regime. The U.S. named an ambassador earlier this month and hosted an official visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to meet Suu Kyi in March.

A Nobel Institute member said Suu Kyi is expected to visit the week of June 25, but no firm dates have been determined at this time. Suu Kyi and other NLD members elected will take their seats in parliament on April 23.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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