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Queen Sonja of Norway on Wednesday congratulated the founders of a park opened last week to commemorate Aung San Suu Kyi’s 71st birthday.
Salai John Mang, the founder of the Aung San Suu Kyi Park in the southern Norwegian town of Froland, said he met with the Queen at an event held in the city of Kristiansand to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King Harald V’s reign.
“We got to greet the Queen and she told us about her meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and that she is a very respectable and heroic woman,” said Salai John Mang, who was invited to the event held on 29 June along with other members of the park’s founding committee.
“The queen shook our hands and thanked us for our contribution in making the park happen,” he added.
The Aung San Suu Kyi Park was opened in Froland on 19 June when the Burmese democracy leader turned 71.
Salai John Mang said Burmese citizens visiting Norway are welcomed to visit the park, where they will be provided free accommodation by the town’s council.
Norway was one of the first countries visited by Suu Kyi after nearly a quart of a century in Burma, most of it spent under house arrest for her advocacy of a return to democratic rule rule. On 16 June 2012, she accepted her Nobel Peace Prize, awarded in 1991, at a ceremony in the Norwegian capital Oslo.
In December 2014, King Harald and Queen Sonja visited Burma to reaffirm Norway’s support for Burma’s reforms under then President Thein Sein. The royal couple was accompanied by around 70 representatives from about 40 Norwegian companies, as well as senior government officials, including the ministers for foreign affairs and trade and industry.
Norway has also played a key role in promoting peace in Burma. However, it has also been criticised for a controversial initiative that was seen as coercing ethnic and civil society groups into joining the government.