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Aung San Suu Kyi Leaves Burma For The First Time In 24 Years

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Aung San Suu Kyi has arrived in Thailand – the first time the opposition leader has left Burma in 24 years.

The 85-minute plane ride was the beginning of a world tour, which will see her visiting the UK, Ireland and France and Switzerland and Norway later in the summer.

She didn’t sound very excited about the trip, though.

aung san suu kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi at Yangon International Airport before boarding a plane for Bangkok

Before setting off she said she “didn’t feel anything special” about it.

In the past Suu Kyi has either been under house arrest, which ended in November 2010, or too worried that if she did leave Burma’s shores, the military government would refuse to let her back in.

Since 2010, though, the population has voted in an elected government and Suu Kyi, 66, has a place in the lower parliament as leader of the opposition party, the National League for Democracy.

Now free to roam abroad, Suu Kyi will spend several days in Thailand, speaking at the World Economic Forum on Friday, an event that’s sure to be watched by the entire world, and visiting refugees and migrant workers.

Her European itinerary includes taking to the stage in Ireland with U2, which is throwing a concert in her honour, stopping off in London to address both houses of Parliament – an honour normally only afforded to national leaders, the Pope and the Queen – and popping over to Paris to meet with high-ranking French officials.

Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest in 1989 for leading demonstrations against the military rulers, who argued that she was capable of threatening the stability of the country.

After the uprising was crushed Suu Kyi became a world famous figure, courted by numerous leaders – but they were never allowed to visit her.

Her father, General Aung San, is regarded by many as the father of modern Burma, - also known as Myanmar - having founded the modern Burmese Army and played a pivotal role in extricating the country from the British Empire in 1947.