Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is visiting France on the last stage of her tour of Europe. She told reporters she had no grudges against the military back home - and praised France's revolutionary spirit.
Asked what France meant to her after arriving in Paris on Tuesday, Myanmar pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi said the country had had served as an inspiration to her.
"For me, France is Victor Hugo, the revolutionary spirit and onion soup."
"I am such an admirer of Victor Hugo because he understood that true revolution begins within yourself," said Suu Kyi, who studied the French language and culture during the 15 years she spent under house arrest in Myanmar.
"I try to read a little bit of French everyday so I am always in touch with France and the thoughts and ideas that have made France one of the foremost champions of liberty in the world."
Suu Kyi applauded the French love of liberty, the writer Victor Hugo - and onion soup
French President Francois Hollande welcomed the 67-year-old Nobel Peace laureate with the aplomb of a full state visit. It is the final leg of a tour that has seen Suu Kyi visit Switzerland, Norway, Ireland and Britain.
No lust for revenge
The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who spent much of the last two decades in prison or confined to her home, told journalists she bore no ill-will towards the military regime that was responsible.
"I certainly do not bear any grudges against the military regime," she said. "I never think of them as those people who placed me under house arrest for so many years. This is not the way we bring about national reconciliation."
"I think of them as people with whom I would like to work in order to bring reform to our country."
On Wednesday, Suy Kyi was meeting with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and was set to pick up an award conferred on her in 2004, making her an honorary citizen of Paris.
Suu Kyi, who led her National League for Democracy to victory in landmark elections in 1990 - only to be detained and denied power by the military - was released from house arrest in November 2010. She is due to return to Myanmar on Friday and is set to take up a seat that she won in parliament in April this year.
rc / (AFP, AP, Reuters)