Aung San Suu Kyi

Suu Kyi picks up overdue Rome citizenship honour

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 October, 2013, 11:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, 3:03pm

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi has picked up an overdue honour from Rome, a city she fondly recalled enjoying, along with its gelato, 40 years earlier.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner received Rome's honorary citizenship on Sunday at City Hall on the ancient Capitoline Hill.

In 1994, Rome had conferred the honour in absentia on Suu Kyi, a champion of democracy who spent years as a political prisoner in her homeland.

Rome mayor Ignazio Marino said on his Twitter account the city could "finally award it to a free woman".

Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party were frozen out of politics by the military regime that governed until 2011, and last year she and several dozen party members won parliamentary seats.

In picking up the honour, she recalled visiting Rome while a student at Oxford. A modest Suu Kyi denied that she had done anything special, saying only that she had made "choices" in her life and "not sacrifices".

Suu Kyi was yesterday due to meet Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and President Giorgio Napolitano.

She was also to be granted an audience with Pope Francis before heading to the city of Bologna to accept another citizenship accolade.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse