Suu Kyi a symbol of moral courage: Tutu

Her "release offers hope to the people of Burma," said Tutu - an icon of his country's struggle for democracy and a fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate - using an alternative name for Myanmar.

"She is a global symbol of moral courage," said the South African leader in a statement released by the Elders.

The organisation, founded by South African icon Nelson Mandela, brings together former world leaders to work for peace, and includes Suu Kyi as an honorary member.Other former leaders affiliated with the group joined Tutu in expressing their delight at Suu Kyi's release, but they also have concerns about renewed violence along the country's border with Thailand, which has created a surge of refugees.

"It is sad to see a country of such great natural wealth that is so fractured and unable to properly protect and care for its people in a way that allows all of them to prosper," said former United States president Jimmy Carter, according to the Elders' statement.

Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland and a member of the group, also warned that more than 2,000 other people remain in prison in Myanmar on what are said to be political charges.

Suu Kyi has spent 15 out of the last 20 years under some form of detention or house arrest - ever since her party, the National League for Democracy, won the 1990 elections. The results of that vote were ruled invalid by the military, to much international outcry.

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