Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi gets passport

Aung San Suu Kyi being greeted by supporters, 8 May 2012 Aung San Suu Kyi plans to visit Europe next month

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been given a passport for the first time in 24 years.

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

But following recent reforms she and other members of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), have won seats in parliament.

Ms Suu Kyi plans to go to Norway in June to accept the Nobel Peace Prize which she won in 1991.

She also intends to travel to Britain where she lived for many years with her late husband and sons.

She was visiting Burma in 1988 to look after her sick mother when protests broke out and she has not left the country since then.

Her husband died in 1999 and she only had limited contact with her children, fearing that if she were to leave Burma she would not be allowed to return.

But now "she can travel abroad freely", a government official told AFP.

And her own spokesman Nyan Win told the news agency: "Her passport is in her hand now".

Ms Suu Kyi's decision to travel is being seen as a sign of her confidence in the government of President Thein Sein, who brought in reforms after he came to power last year.

Ms Suu Kyi has also accepted an invitation to visit the United Nations headquarters in New York.

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