Connect to share and comment

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi arrives in Europe

The pro-democracy leader will collect Nobel Prize and meet family in Britain.

Aung San Suu Kyi 2012 5 22Enlarge
In a file picture taken on March 5, 2012, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech during an electoral campaign rally in Naypyidaw. (Soe Than Win/AFP/Getty Images)

Aung San Suu Kyi has arrived in Switzerland to begin her first trip back to the continent since being placed under house arrest 24 years ago.

AFP quotes an airport spokesman as saying she left the airplane "smiling and seemingly in great form".

On the pro-democracy leader’s itinerary are stops in France, Switzerland, Norway, Ireland and Britain.

During what’s being called a triumphant return, she will receive her 1991 Nobel Prize in Norway and reunite with family in Britain.

“Each country will be different,” Suu Kyi told BBC News. “I will know how backward (Myanmar) is when I reach the other countries.

More from GlobalPost: Myanmar declares state of emergency in restive western province

Suu Kyi’s late husband, Michael Aris, died in 1999; he was the son of British and Canadian diplomats.

They had two children, Alexander and Kim, and Suu Kyi has not seen Alexander since she was freed, explains the Telepraph.

She is to celebrate her 67th birthday on June 19 with family in Britain.

Suu Kyi is also expected to address the British Parliament and receive and Amnesty International award in Dublin from U2 frontman Bono during a benefit concert in her honor.

Suu Kyi left Britain in 1988 to tend to her ailing mother, but never returned after being caught in political uprisings against military leaders.

As part of a government pledge to allow greater freedoms, her National League for Democracy almost swept special elections in April, and Suu Kyi now holds a seat in Myanmar’s Parliament for the first time.

She is to make her first stop Thursday in Switzerland to speak with the International Labor Organization, The New York Times reported.

“Twenty-four years ago she was a housewife. And now she is a leader of our country and a democratic icon,” Suu Kyi’s friend, Zarganar, told The Times.

More from GlobalPost: Straight talk from Aung San Suu Kyi 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/120613/aung-san-suu-kyi-leaves-myanmar-europe