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|March 29, 1999||
Suu Kyi will not attend husband's funeral
Aung San Suu Kyi will not accept the Burmese government's offer to let her travel to Britain for the funeral of her husband, diplomats said today.
Suu Kyi's husband, Michael Aris, a professor of Tibetan studies at Oxford University, died of prostate cancer in London's Churchill hospital on Saturday, his 53rd birthday.
The military government had refused to grant him a visa to visit Burma one last time to see his wife, who is the country's opposition leader and has been, first, under house arrest and then under surveillance for almost a decade. Instead, they urged the 1991 Nobel peace prize-winner to visit her ailing husband in Britain.
After her husband's death, the military government issued a statement of condolence, added that it would help Suu Kyi arrange religious rites for Aris in Burma, and renewed its offer to allow her to travel to Britain, this time for the funeral.
But Suu Kyi will not accept the offer, still believing the government will not allow her to return, said a diplomat who met her today.
Suu Kyi is arranging to hold a Buddhist ceremony for her husband on Friday, the seventh day after his death, that being the customary interval in Buddhist religious practice.
The diplomat said Suu Kyi was holding up, but was very sad.
Suu Kyi and Aris had two sons. The military government had revoked their Burmese passports several years ago and only occasionally allows them into the country to see their mother.
Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest for her political activities by the government from 1989 to 1995.
In London yesterday, the Aris family issued a statement thanking friends around the world for "an avalanche of love, concern and best wishes".
The statement added, "The family continues to send all their love, support and hopes to their beloved family member, in the hope that they may one day be reunited with her and that her hopes for a peaceful dialogue and reconciliation, in the spirit of the noble lord Buddha, may be achieved."
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