Paris: Myanmar democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi said on Friday that she is prepared to lead her country one day, speaking in Paris at the end of a triumphant Europe tour.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, in Europe for the first time in a quarter-century after enduring many years of house arrest, also spoke of her joy at the warm reception she received on her five-nation tour.

Asked whether she would be ready to lead the country also known as Burma one day, she said: "I think all party leaders have to prepare themselves for the possibility, if they truly believe in the democratic process.

"But it's not something that I think of all the time. In fact, I think one has to concentrate on present work, of course preparing for the future. The present has to be linked to one's hopes for the future."

Suu Kyi, 67, flies back on Friday to Myanmar, ending the tour during which she was cheered by large crowds of admirers and toasted by leaders in Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, Britain and France.

"So many people from different parts of the world seem to be aware of what we have been struggling for in Burma," she said. "I felt such a tremendous sense of solidarity with us. That has been a surprise."

Suu Kyi on Thursday had breakfast with French former president Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, visited parliament and then held a debate with students at the
Sorbonne university in Paris.

She admitted her two-week journey was strenuous and quipped: "It's very exhausting, and when people ask me about all the sacrifices that I've made, I'm always tempted to say the greatest sacrifice I have made is sleep."

Myanmar, once under iron-fisted military rule but now run by a quasi-civilian government, faces legislative elections in 2015, which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy is set to contest.

But Suu Kyi stressed that the hard work needs to be done now.

"I think we can't wait until 2015 to see how things will emerge," she told."It is now that is most important, the next three years will decide what shape 2015 will take."

As Western nations have eased or suspended sanctions, a business bonanza is under way in the resource-rich but impoverished nation.


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