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Suu Kyi makes historic UK speech

Says Myanmar needs help in its journey toward 'a better future'

  • Mike MacLachlan, London
  • United Kingdom
  • June 22, 2012
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Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday asked Britain as “one of the oldest democratic societies in the world” to consider what it could do to help Myanmar.

The Myanmar opposition leader was addressing a joint session of the houses of parliament, the Lords and the Commons – the first woman to do so apart from Queen Elizabeth.

She was given a standing ovation after her 30-minute address in which she said now was her country’s time of greatest need.

“I am here in part to ask for practical help, help as a friend and an equal in support of the reforms which can bring better lives, greater opportunities, to the people of Burma who have been for so long deprived of their rights and their place in the world.

“My country stands today at the start of a journey towards, I hope, a better future ….

“Our own determination can get us so far. The support of the people of Britain and of peoples around the world can get us so much further.”

Before her address Suu Kyi met Prime Minister David Cameron who told her: “You have been a symbol of courage and of hope for our people and for your people and around the world.”

He said Britain would invest in strengthening democracy in Myanmar. As part of this drive his government has invited President Thein Sein to visit the UK.

Earlier Suu Kyi was given an honorary doctorate by Oxford University. She studied in Oxford and met her late husband, Michael Aris, there.

She returned to Myanmar in 1988 to look after her sick mother, but then became the opposition leader. She was placed under house arrest and not released until 2010.

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