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Suu Kyi makes historic address to British lawmakers

LONDON — In a historic address to both houses of Parliament, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Thursday that her country finally had a chance to "re-establish true democracy" and that she would welcome help from nations such as Britain.

"It is an opportunity for which we have waited many decades," the Nobel Peace Prize winner said. "If we do not use this opportunity, if we do not get things right this time around, it may be several decades more before a similar opportunity arises again."

Suu Kyi's half-hour speech, before a rapt audience of lawmakers and other dignitaries, made her the first Asian, the first non-head of state and first woman besides the British monarch ever to address a joint assembly of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Previous speakers given the honor include Nelson Mandela, Pope Benedict XVI and President Barack Obama.

The occasion also was notable because she was addressing representatives of a nation that once subjugated hers, before Myanmar, which also is known as Burma, won freedom from British colonial rule in 1948.