Aung San Suu Kyi cuts short news conference after vomiting
AUNG San Suu Kyi, Burma’s opposition leader cut short an appearance in the Swiss capital Bern, saying she was suffering from exhaustion, after she vomited during a press conference.
Ms Suu Kyi, on her first visit to Europe in 24 years, apologised after vomiting, saying she was "totally exhausted" from travelling.
"I am not used to the time difference," she said in Bern after holding talks with Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter.
Earlier, the woman known as Burma's steel butterfly used her first speech on the continent to assert her determination to lead her country.
Speaking to a UN-sponsored conference in Geneva on the first working day of her trip, the 67-year old drew applause as she made a pointed correction on her role while travelling abroad.
She said she did not represent the government of Burma, which has faced allegations of using conscript labour in the armed forces and state industries.
"I do not stand here as a representative of the workers, or of employers, or of government," But she added: "Not yet anyway."
It was an unprecedented public admission from the woman who has spent 15 of the last 20 years under some form of house arrest that she now feels power is within her grasp.
Elected as an opposition MP only in April, Ms Suu Kyi currently commands the support of just 10 per cent of the military-dominated parliament.
But given her party's virtual clean sweep of the seats it contested in by-elections, there is a strong possibility she will emerge as the strongest force in Burmese politics at the next election in 2015.
In a potential attempt to provide reassurance to the former leaders of the shadowy military junta, Ms Suu Kyi added she bore few scars from her treatment as a political dissident and harboured no desire for revenge.
"In some ways I don't think they really did anything to me," she said. "I do not think I have anything to forgive them for."
Derek Tonkin, a former British diplomat who heads the Network Myanmar business group, said Ms Suu Kyi had growing expectations that she could at least form the next Burmese government, if not become president.
"Until recently she was not in the least interested in representation of the government in any way," he said. "She was totally opposed to them and thought they should go the way of all history.
"Now of course she has comprised with them she might be willing to play some role."
Ms Suu Kyi has embarked on a 17-day tour of Europe that will see her accept the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1992 before travelling to Britain to address a joint session of parliament in Westminster Hall.
The emotional high point of the trip will be a return to Oxford where she lived as a student and wife of Michael Aris, an Oxford scholar who died in 1999. She was unable to leave Burma. She will celebrate her 68th birthday in the city with her son Kim and other family members.
She will also visit Dublin where U2 frontman Bono has organised a concert in her honour and France where she will visit relatives and be feted President Francois Hollande.
In Geneva, Ms Suu Kyi was greeted with applause and flowers at UN offices as she arrived to address the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
In contrast to a speech in Bangkok where she irritated the reformist regime by warning against "reckless optimism'' over the pace of change, Ms Suu Kyi called for foreign investors to tackle the scourge of unemployment.
"It's not so much joblessness as hopelessness that threatens our future," she said. "Unemployed youth lose confidence in the society that has failed to give them the chance to realise their potential.
"Any new investment that comes in because of the lifting or suspension of sanctions should add to the democratic process rather than subtract from it."
The ILO, a United Nations agency which monitors international labour standards, has sought for years to end forced labour and the government signed an action plan to eliminate it outright by 2015.
"The international community is trying very hard to bring my country into it and it's up to our country to respond the right way," she said.
President Thein Sein has warned of the threat of disruption to the reform process, which has seen the release hundreds of political prisoners, peace pacts with armed rebel groups and the return of Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party into mainstream politics.