Tutu to meet Suu Kyi in Myanmar visit

2013-02-26 10:03
Archbishop Desmond Tutu. (File, AFP)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu. (File, AFP)

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Yangon - Archbishop Desmond Tutu was to meet fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday, her party said, during a visit to Myanmar that also includes talks with dissidents imprisoned by the former junta.

Nobel peace prize winner Tutu arrived in the country on Monday, according to a source from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), in the latest high profile visit to the country as it emerges from decades of military rule.

"He met some political prisoners this morning. Daw Suu will meet him in Yangon this afternoon - she will come back from Naypyidaw to meet him," he said. Daw is a term of respect in Myanmar.

A Myanmar government official confirmed the visit and said Tutu would also visit key tourist destinations, including the Bagan temple complex and Inle Lake in Shan state, before departing on a boat heading to India on 1 March.

A US embassy official said Tutu would give a speech at the American Centre in Yangon on Wednesday.

Tutu, who won the Nobel prize in 1984 for his role in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, was a fervent supporter of Suu Kyi's struggle for democracy during her long years of house arrest.

Foreign trips

In September 2011, almost a year after she was released, 81-year-old Tutu flamboyantly declared "I love you!" to the Myanmar activist in a videolink talk.

At the time Tutu said he would visit Myanmar when Suu Kyi was "inaugurated as the head of government".

Since then Suu Kyi has entered parliament alongside dozens of members of her once-ostracised party after historic by-elections in April 2012. The polls were seen as a crucial step in Myanmar's reforms under a quasi-civilian government that replaced the junta in early 2011.

Suu Kyi, known as "the Lady" in her home country, also embarked on several foreign trips last year in a sign of her confidence in the changes in Myanmar.

The opposition leader travelled to Norway in June to finally give her acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991. She was unable to collect it in person for 21 years because of fears Myanmar's generals would not let her return to her country.

Read more on:    desmond tutu  |  aung san suu kyi  |  myanmar
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