24 May 2012

Suu Kyi to leave Myanmar, after more than 2 decades

11:18 pm on 24 May 2012

The political party of Aung San Suu Kyi says the opposition leader will leave Myanmar next week for the first time in 24 years, to attend a regional economic forum in Thailand.

Ms Suu Kyi spent much of the past two decades under house arrest and always refused offers to leave the country, believing the then military government would not let her back in.

She will attend the World Economic Forum summit, which takes place in Bangkok from 30 May to 1 June, a spokesperson for her National League for Democracy party told the BBC.

Myanmar's President Thein Sein is also expected to attend the event.

Ms Suu Kyi has spent much of the past two decades under house arrest as a political prisoner.

But amid a process of reform in Myanmar she was freed in late 2010, and won a seat in parliament in by-elections last month.

The BBC reports she was given a passport for the first time in more than two decades earlier this month.

She also plans to travel to Norway next month, where she is scheduled to accept the Nobel Peace Prize which she won in 1991, on 16 June.

She has also accepted an invitation to address the British parliament on 21 June during a visit to Britain, where she lived for many years with her late husband and her sons.

Ms Suu Kyi was visiting Myanmar in 1988 to look after her sick mother when protests broke out. She has not left the country since then.