DHAKA: Opposition politician and former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi has left Myanmar on her first trip to Europe since 1988 to formally accept the Nobel Prize that thrust her into the global limelight two decades ago.
"I would like to do my best for the interests of the people," Suu Kyi told reporters before her plane left Yangon airport on Wednesday.
For years, Suu Kyi declined offers to leave the country, even to see her sons or British husband before his death from cancer in 1999, for fear the ruling generals would not let her return.
Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest when she was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, will travel first to Switzerland and then to Norway, Ireland, Britain and France.
As well as the Nobel speech, she is due to speak at an International Labour Organization conference, address Britain`s parliament and receive an Amnesty International human rights award in Dublin from rock star Bono.
Her visit will mark a new milestone in the political changes that have swept through the country formerly known as Burma since decades of outright military rule ended last year, bringing to power a new quasi-civilian government.
President Thein Sein is credited for a series of dramatic reforms including releasing hundreds of political prisoners, signing peace pacts with armed rebel groups and welcoming Suu Kyi`s party back into mainstream politics.
BDST: 1245 HRS, JUN 13, 2012
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