independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Bono to appear on stage with Suu Kyi at concert during whistle-stop tour

Bono has long been a vocal supporter of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi

BONO will appear on stage with Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi when she attends a special concert in her honour here next month.

A theatrical celebration has been planned for Ms Suu Kyi in the Bord Gais Theatre in Dublin's docklands on June 18. Ms Suu Kyi will attend the event as part of a whistle-stop visit to Dublin.

While U2 will not appear as a band, Bono has not ruled out making a musical contribution on the evening, according to sources close to the group.

The singer campaigned for many years on behalf of Ms Suu Kyi (66) and prominently featured her 15 years of house arrest in Burma during the band's performances.

The visit is being organised by Amnesty International and Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey has promised a "special event to mark the occasion".

Ms Suu Kyi will be presented with Amnesty International's most prestigious award -- Ambassador of Conscience -- at the concert.

It is understood that the human rights organisation asked Dublin entrepreneur Harry Crosbie to stage the event in the theatre.

Mr Crosbie, who produced a concert for Queen Elizabeth's visit last year at the Convention Centre in the capital, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Sources close to Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore confirmed that the Burmese opposition leader would, however, not be staying overnight in Dublin.

"Ms Suu Kyi will only be in Dublin for half a day or less and the concert will be the focal point, where she will receive awards and plaudits, but no details have been finalised," said the source.

Although she will address both Houses of Parliament at Westminster in London after she leaves Ireland, it is understood that there are no plans for her to address the houses of the Oireachtas.

"The Government will be happy to facilitate anything for the celebrated visitor but they are aware Ms Suu Kyi is a guest of Amnesty International," the source said.

Prize

Ms Suu Kyi is expected to fly to Dublin from Oslo where she will formally accept the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to her in 1991.

In Dublin Ms Suu Kyi will be presented with a number of honours awarded to her during her years of house arrest, including the freedom of Dublin city, granted to her in 2000 alongside the members of U2.

Earlier this month in Burma, Ms Suu Kyi was sworn in as an MP after her National League for Democracy won 43 seats in parliament.

Although the ruling military junta kept her under house arrest for 15 years, Ms Suu Kyi was always free to leave Burma -- but she refused, fearing she would not be readmitted.

Her European tour marks the first trip outside Burma since 1988. After her release from house arrest in 2010, Ms Suu Kyi said she wanted to develop closer ties with Ireland.

Mr Gilmore said he looked forward to discussing how Ireland can assist the people of Burma with Ms Suu Kyi.

Irish Independent

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