Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to travel overseas next week

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to travel overseas next week

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to travel overseas next week

Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi touches the hands of her supporters as she arrives in Yangon to attend the opening ceremony of her party’s office. REUTERS photo

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will travel overseas next week for the first time in more than two decades to attend an economic forum in Bangkok, her party said yesterday.

The former political prisoner’s plan to leave her homeland for the first time since 1988 is the latest sign of dramatic political change sweeping through the country, where decades of outright military rule ended last year. “She will go to the World Economic Forum (on East Asia) in Thailand,” said Nyan Win, a spokesman for the Nobel laureate’s National League for Democracy (NLD), according to Agence France-Presse.

Plans to go to Europe

The gathering of senior government officials and business leaders from around the region is being held from May 30 to June 1 at a luxury hotel in the Thai capital. Nyan Win said Suu Kyi would arrive in Bangkok on May 28. Myanmar President Thein Sein will also attend the same economic forum, according to a government official. Suu Kyi was released from seven straight years of house arrest in November 2010.

Suu Kyi also plans to go to Europe where she will address an International Labor Organization conference in Geneva on June 14. After that she will make a speech in Oslo on June 16 to accept the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991 for her peaceful struggle for democracy, according to the Nobel Committee.

Meanwhile, Myanmar police broke up a protest against power cuts by several hundred people yesterday and five members of Suu Kyi’s opposition party were taken in for questioning, a senior party official said.

Kyaw Sann, a member of the NLD in Pyi area, told Reuters that about seven people had been arrested. Demonstrations have taken place in Pyi and other towns, as citizens test the limits of democratic changes in Myanmar, leaving authorities struggling to respond.