Aung San Suu Kyi meets pope, wins support from Letta
'Unmarkable', says Baggio28 October, 20:07
(ANSA) - Rome, October 28 - Burmese opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi got sympathy and support for her fight for democracy and rights from Pope Francis and Italian Premier Enrico Letta Monday.
Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, also received a boost from Italy's favourite Buddhist, soccer great Roberto Baggio, who called her "unmarkable".
Pope Francis told her of the need for more love and understanding in the world during her one-hour audience with him, Suu Kyi told reporters. "The Holy Father told me that emotions such as hatred and fear diminish life and the value of the person," Suu Kyisaid after her meeting with Francis.
"(He said) we need to value love and understanding to improve the lives of people".
Premier Letta told the Nobel laureate that Italy supports a transition to democracy in Burma.
Letta, who met with the Burmese opposition politician in Rome, said during their English-language conversation that he also supports constitutional changes in Burma, which is now under the control of a military-backed government that refers to the country as Myanmar.
Elections are scheduled in Burma in 2015 and Suu Kyi has said she will stand for election as president.
Letta also invited Suu Kyi to attend Expo 2015 in Milan, when Italy's business capital hosts the world's fair. On Sunday in Rome, she was able to finally accept the honorary citizenship the city had conferred on her in absentia in 1994.
At the time, Suu Kyi was held under house arrest in Burma, where she was detained as a political prisoner for 15 years.
The opposition leader told the press that Burma's constitution, which bans her from the presidency, is undemocratic and must be reformed.
Suu Kyi, who has said she intends to run for president of Burma in elections scheduled for 2015, said that her country's Constitution has been rewritten so as to exclude her from holding office. "A democratic Constitution cannot be framed with only one person in mind," said Suu Kyi.
"It's clear that this Constitution was written thinking about my case," she added during a news conference with Foreign Minister Emma Bonino.
Burma's Constitution forbids individuals with a spouse or children who are foreign citizens from serving as president - apparently, a direct reference to Suu Kyi's case, as both her children are British citizens and live outside of Burma.
Her husband Michael Aris, who died of cancer at 53 in 1999, was a British scholar of Tibet and Himalayan culture, who met Suu Kyi when she was a student at Oxford.
Baggio, who was asked by Suu Kyi to help Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino on Sunday night hand her the honorary citizenship she won in 1994, called her "unmarkable".
"She's a minute woman physically and powerful in determination. In soccer terms I would describe her as 'unmarkable' in the way she roams across the great issues of life," said The Golden Ponytail, whose performances for club and country were dotted with memorable goals after mazy dribbles that left defenders sprawling.
Baggio, who was honoured in 2010 by Nobel Peace Laureates for his charitable work, said Suu Kyi had invited him and other Buddhist social activists to Rangoon where Marino, a liver-transplant surgeon, announced a collaboration with a local hospital.
The Italy legend said Rome's latest honorary citizen "loves young people a lot because they're the pillars of the future.
"Everyone has talked about her courage, her battle for freedom but perhaps not everyone knows how big her heart is," Baggio said, calling her "a true modern hero".