16 Jun 2012

Suu Kyi to visit Swiss parliament

5:40 am on 16 June 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi is due to visit the Swiss parliament on the second day of her European trip after cancelling a dinner due to exhaustion.

She was due to dine with Swiss officials, but chose to rest instead after falling ill at a press conference on Thursday.

Ms Suu Kyi earlier called for support for democracy in Myanmar, on her first visit to Europe since 1988 and is due to accept her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize in Norway on Saturday.

Since her arrival from Myanmar late on Wednesday night, she had admitted to jet lag and exhaustion, the BBC reports.

Concerns for Ms Suu Kyi's health emerged on Thursday after she had to cut short a news conference in Bern after falling ill.

She had already complained of exhaustion after her speech to the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, where she warned against economic development which ignored the rights of workers.

The ILO has led a long campaign against child and slave labour in Myanmar.

In her speech, Ms Suu Kyi welcomed steps by the international community to reach out to her country, long isolated because of its military dictatorship.

"The international community is trying very hard to bring my country into it and it's up to our country to respond the right way."

However, she insisted that Myanmar needed "democracy-friendly development growth" and called for profits to be shared with the people, especially the young, who needed the support of the international community to build a better future.

"I would like to call for aid and investment that will strengthen the democratisation process by promoting social and economic progress that is beneficial to political reform."

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent much of the past 24 years under house arrest in Myanmar. In late 2010 she was freed and won a seat in parliament in a by-election two months ago.

It is her second recent overseas trip, after visiting Thailand in May this year. She has not been to Europe since 1988 and is to also visit Britain, Ireland and France.

The BBC reports her decision to travel is seen as a sign of confidence in the government of President Thein Sein, who came to power last year in Myanmar's first elections in 20 years.