Nobel winner says she won't quit Myanmar

February 15, 1994|By New York Times News Service

YANGON, Myanmar -- Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and leader of the Burmese democracy movement who has been under house arrest in Yangon for more than four years, was allowed to break her silence yesterday, telling visitors that, while she was ready to negotiate with her jailers, she would never leave her homeland.

"The concept of driving somebody out of their own country is

totally unacceptable to me," Ms. Suu Kyi, 48, said. "They have tried to pressure me to leave the country in ways that no self-respecting government should try."

The delegation that came to her door yesterday, led by U.S. Rep. Bill Richardson, a New Mexico Democrat, is the first group of visitors the government has allowed her to receive apart from her family and her doctors.

Ms. Suu Kyi won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent campaign to bring democracy to her homeland of Myanmar, better known to the outside world by its colonial name, Burma.

The government, which clearly feels that her release could reignite the democracy movement, has insisted that she can go free if she leaves the country immediately, but she said yesterday, "That is never going to happen."

Foreign diplomats in the capital, Yangon, say that the government is hoping to improve its abysmal human rights image abroad as it seeks international aid and investment.

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