Fri, 15 Jun 2012 09:10:05 GMT

Suu Kyi to celebrate birthday in UK



From Prasun Sonwalkar
London, Jun 15 (PTI) Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar''s pro-democracy icon and chairman of the National League for Democracy, will celebrate her 67th birthday on June 19 in Britain, where she spent several years in the 1980s.

Suu Kyi, also a member of the Myanmar parliament, will receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo tomorrow and participate in the birthday celebrations organised by the Myanmar community in London on June 19.

She will travel the same day to Oxford, where she has family. She turns 67 on the day.

Dr Win Naing, chairman of the UK branch of NLD, told PTI that members of the party and the community were looking forward to receiving her and had organised events during her first visit to Europe in 24 years.

Suu Kyi has a busy schedule during her visit to Britain, which includes a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron, and an address to parliament in the Westminster Hall, an unprecedented honour usually reserved for iconic current or former heads of state (she is neither).

On June 20, Suu Kyi will receive the honorary doctorate in Civil Law announced by the University of Oxford in 1993.

She is also scheduled to deliver "address to the University" on the day.

Dr Naing, who hails from Shwebo in the Sagaing region of Myanmar near India''s north-east, participated in the September 1988 pro-democracy movement, and arrived in the UK in 1991.

The UK branch of NLD was launched in 1997.

Stating that he and his group got "moral support" from the UK government, Dr Naing said he was hopeful about recent changes in his country.

"Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new era in Myanmar.
But I am still unsure. Our leader is talking to the generals; better to go along with the stream and see how the future unfolds", he said.

Dr Naing said the UK branch of NLD had nearly 100 members, including students who had participated in the pro-democracy movement.

He would be meeting Suu Kyi in London with some leaders of the Kachin and Karen groups.

The 2,500-strong Myanmar community in the UK has organised an event in Suu Kyi''s honour at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, on June 22.

Suu Kyi, who went to school and college in New Delhi, later studied, married and lived in her "beloved Oxford".

She is reported to have taken ill during a press conference in Bern, Switzerland, yesterday.

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