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Suu Kyi taken ill at Swiss news conference

June 15, 2012

BERN: Myanmar’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi halted her news conference in the Swiss capital Bern yesterday evening after vomiting and excusing herself saying “I’m so sorry”.

Suu Kyi, 66, who minutes before complained of jet lag and tiredness, had arrived in Geneva late on Wednesday at the start of her first trip to Europe in nearly a quarter of a century.

“I couldn’t adjust to the time, it may have something to do with age, or lack of practice,” she quipped at the start of her delayed press conference in Bern after arriving by train from Geneva where she addressed the International Labour Organization (ILO).

After about 15 minutes of taking questions alongside Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, who announced Switzerland was lifting sanctions against her country except for military weapons, she suddenly had a pained look on her face and reached for a bag into which she threw up.

Suu Kyi, wearing a pink silk outfit, regained her composure and left the news conference saying: “I’m so sorry. I apologise.”

She later briefly attended a cocktail party hosted by Swiss President Evelyn Widmer-Schlumpf for some 80 people, but the official dinner in her honour was cancelled, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Marc Crevoisier said.

“She is tired and has gone to her hotel to rest,” Crevoisier told Reuters.

She is due to leave Switzerland via Zurich on Friday to receive her Nobel Peace Prize in Norway, which was awarded in 1991. Suu Kyi spent two decades under house arrest in Myanmar before being elected to parliament in April.

“You will finally receive your Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow in Oslo. This will be an emotion but above all a merit … and one more step on the way to democracy,” Burkhalter said.

“Your presence today is also a sign that the situation has evolved in your country. The political reforms that are taking place in your country are raising hopes, not only among the local population, but also throughout the world.”

Other stops on her 17-day trip include Britain, Ireland and France.

– Reuters


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