Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said the rule of law is an essential prerequisite for democracy in her country as she began her first visit to Britain in more than two decades.
“This is what we all need if we are going to proceed toward democracy,” the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who turned 67 today, said during a panel discussion at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Suu Kyi, who spent 15 of the past 20 years under house arrest, was restricted from seeing her two sons and husband, who died of cancer in March 1999. She declined permission to visit him in Britain before he died, fearing she wouldn’t be allowed back into Myanmar, also known as Burma.
The opposition leader is due to meet members of Britian’s royal family and Prime Minister David Cameron and to address Parliament this week. She said during a BBC Television interview that aired June 17 that she would visit Oxford, where she lived with her family before returning to Myanmar.
Speaking in Parliament in London today, Foreign Secretary William Hague said “it is important to recognize that there is still a long way to go in Burma” in establishing democracy.
Earlier this week, Suu Kyi said global energy companies such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc must adhere to international investment rules if they decide to team up with her country’s national oil producer.
Myanmar is wooing companies to invest after about five decades of military rule left it among Asia’s poorest countries. The U.S. and the European Union eased sanctions after April by-elections gave Suu Kyi’s party 43 of 45 seats, allowing it some representation in the 664-member parliament still dominated by President Thein Sein.