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Suu Kyi set for first trip abroad in 24 years

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Myanmar's Nobel Peace Prize laureate and pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is set to travel outside the country for the first time in 24 years.

The party of the newly elected member of parliament said on Wednesday that Suu Kyi had accepted invitations to visit Norway and Britain in June.

Officials in Myanmar told the AFP news agency that Suu Kyi had applied to travel but had not yet been granted a passport.

Suu Kyi was invited to visit Britain during a meeting with David Cameron, the British prime minister, in Yangon last week.

"Two years ago I would have said thank you for the invitation, but sorry," she said of Friday's offer by the British leader.

The fact that she would consider the offer, rather than reject it outright, showed "great progress" had been achieved in Myanmar she said.

The city of Oxford, where she attended university in the 1970s, will be on the agenda for the Britain visit, Nyan Win, spokesman for her National League for Democracy (NLD) party told the Reuters news agency.

He said the exact route and dates for Suu Kyi's first travels outside the southeast Asian nation in more than two decades had not yet been set.

The 66-year-old Suu Kyi, first detained in 1989, spent 15 of the last 21 years in detention.

Following her November 2010 release, Suu Kyi refused to leave the country during the brief periods when she was not held by authorities, for fear of not being allowed to return.

Suu Kyi's expected travel caps months of change in Myanmar, following a series of reforms under President Thein Sein, a former general, including a historic by-election on April 1 that won Suu Kyi one of her party's 43 seats in a year-old parliament.

After five decades of military rule, Thein Sein's reforms included the release of political prisoners, more media freedom, dialogue with ethnic armed groups and an exchange rate unification seen as crucial to fixing the economy.


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