Cathal Mcnaughton / Reuters
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi signs a book at the Nobel Institute after a meeting with the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo on Saturday.
Updated at 8:40 a.m ET: OSLO, Norway -- Myanmar opposition leader and international democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi finally accepted her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Saturday after spending a total of 15 years under house arrest.
In the speech, Suu Kyi said full political freedom in her country was still a long way off, and talked about the isolation she felt during the years under house arrest. She said the prize had "made me real once again … it had drawn attention to the struggle for democracy in Burma," according to Germany's Deutsche Welle.
Suu Kyi, the Oxford University-educated daughter of General Aung San, Myanmar's assassinated independence hero, also advocated caution about transformation in Myanmar, whose quasi-civilian government continues to hold political prisoners.
"Absolute peace in our world is an unattainable goal," Suu Kyi said in her acceptance speech during her first trip to Europe in nearly 25 years.
"Hostilities have not ceased in the far north; to the west, communal violence resulting in arson and murder were taking place just several days before I started out the journey that has brought me here today," she said.
"There still remain such prisoners in Burma. It is to be feared that because the best known detainees have been released, the remainder, the unknown ones, will be forgotten," Suu Kyi, 66, told a packed Oslo City Hall.
A day earlier, she arrived from Switzerland to a jubilant reception as dancing and chanting crowds filled Oslo's streets and showered her with flowers.
Suu Kyi never left Myanmar even during brief periods of freedom after 1989, afraid the military would not let back in.
Her sons, Kim and Alexander had accepted the Nobel prize on her behalf in 1991, with her husband Michael Aris also attending the ceremony. A year later Suu Kyi announced she would use the $1.3 million prize money to establish a health and education trust for Burmese people.
She was unable to be with Aris, an Oxford academic, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and died in Britain in 1999.
Earlier, Norwegian government leaders said they have eagerly awaited Saturday's speech at Oslo City Hall since Suu Kyi won the world's highest diplomatic honor in 1991. But Suu Kyi said she never doubted that she would travel one day to Oslo to give her honorific lecture.
"Yes of course, I always believed that. That's why I have always said that the first time I traveled abroad I would come to Norway," she said in answer to a reporter's question. "I never doubted that. Did you?"
Switzerland was the first stop on a planned two-week tour of Europe also taking in Ireland, Britain and France. The journey is her first in Europe since 1988, the year she left her husband and two young sons in England to visit her ill mother back home -- and became the focal point for the country's nascent democracy movement.
Before accepting the prize, a tired-looking, rarely smiling Suu Kyi appeared to be recovering from falling ill on Thursday.
"We are not at the end of the road, by no means, we are just starting out," she said on Friday.
She both warned that her country's political transformation was not irreversible and the military had to give up its excessive powers and rejected a suggestion that her aim was to dismantle the military.
"I have never thought that I was doing anything against the military, I've always said I want the military, the army to be an honorable, professional army that is respected by the people," Suu Kyi said at a press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Friday.
"I fight against what is dangerous for the democratic process and the military having the kind of powers that they shouldn't have certainly endangers the democratic process," said Suu Kyi.
For the first time in nearly a quarter century, Myanmar's opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has left her country for a journey overseas, first to Bangkok and later to Europe. NBC's Ian Williams reports.
Suu Kyi's 17-day European trip has been clouded by sectarian violence between Rakhine Buddhists and stateless Muslim Rohingyas, testing Myanmar's 15-month-old government.
On Friday, a fragile peace held in the wake of days of that has stoked nationalist fervor and displaced 30,000 people and killed 29 by government accounts.
The government has made peace and unity among Myanmar's many ethnic groups its mantra and has struck ceasefire deals with minority Karen, Shan, Mon and Chin rebels, among others, after decades of hostilities.
But there is entrenched, long-standing animosity between Rakhine Buddhists and around 800,000 Muslim Rohingyas, who mostly live in abject conditions and who still do not possess citizenship.
Reuters, The Associated Press and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.
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