UK & World News
Aung San Suu Kyi Appeals For UK Support
The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has addressed both Houses of Parliament and said "this is Burma's time of greatest need".
The Nobel peace laureate made the speech in Westminster Hall - the most historic part of the Palace of Westminster - a rare honour, normally only accorded to heads of state.
Speaking to politicians past and present she said she was seeking practical help to address the problems still besetting her country.
In particular, she said she hoped the UK could help rebuild the education system while providing new investment for the future.
"I am here in part to ask for practical help, help as a friend and an equal, in support of the reforms which can bring better lives, greater opportunities, to the people of Burma who have been for so long deprived of their rights and their place in the world," she said.
"My country today stands at the start of a journey towards, I hope, a better future. So many hills remain to be climbed, chasms to be bridged, obstacles to be breached.
"Our own determination can get us so far. The support of the people of Britainand of peoples around the world can get us so much further."
Ms Suu Kyi said that after independence Burma was briefly regarded as "the country most likely to succeed in South East Asia".
"Things did not, however, go entirely to plan. They often don't in Burma, and indeed in the rest of the world.
"Now once again we have an opportunity to establish true democracy in Burma. It is an opportunity for which we have waited many decades.
"If we do not use this opportunity, if we do not get things right this time around, it may be several decades more before a similar opportunity arises again."
Her appearance before MPs and peers followed her emotional return on Wednesday to Oxford - the city where she studied in the 1960s and where she settled with her late husband, the Tibetan scholar Michael Aris, in the 1980s.
Earlier, Ms Suu Kyi held a news conference at Number 10 with Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Prime Minister said Ms Suu Kyi's visit to Britain was "a great moment, that few expected and few dared to hope for", the Prime Minister said as they stood side by side at a Number 10 press conference.
"Over these years you have been a symbol of courage and of hope for our people and for your people and around the world," he said.
"Your example has inspired people across the world and it's inspired people here in Britain too.
"So it's an honour to have you here today, and in Parliament where you will speak shortly."
Ms Suu Kyi said Burma is about to go down a "most difficult road" and that now more than ever, the country's friends need to be "watchdogs".
Mr Cameron said Britain would be a "staunch" supporter of Burma's steps towards democracy and confirmed that he had also invited President Thein Sein to visit the UK.