Nobel laureates attending a peace summit in Hiroshima on Saturday celebrated with toasts the news of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi's release.
The freed dissident was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her "non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights" and past winners greeted news of her release at an annual gathering.
"It's wonderful," said former South African president F.W. de Klerk, who won the Peace Prize in 1993 with Nelson Mandela for efforts to end apartheid in the country. "We would like to have her next year with us."
The news reached Hiroshima as the city hosts the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, with six past Nobel Peace laureates including exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Former Italian football player Roberto Baggio, who has been picked for this year's World Peace Award bestowed by Nobel Peace Prize laureates, also joined the celebration.
"Just very happy, absolutely," he said as he got off a cruise ship on a tour given on an invitation of Hiroshima governor.
De Klerk and Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace recipient and a lawyer promoting human rights in Iran, also heard the news and toasted on the ship.
"I will go to Burma (Myanmar), or rather I hope to be able to go because I tried in the past without results," Baggio said.
He was singled out for his long-time charity work, particularly in Myanmar in trying to win freedom for Suu Kyi and also his fund-raising for victims of the Haiti earthquake, according to the office of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.
Baggio, a convert to Buddhism, is to receive his accolade here on Sunday.
Suu Kyi walked free after seven years as a prisoner in her own home, calling on a sea of jubilant supporters to unite in the face of repression.
Waving and smiling, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner appeared outside the crumbling lakeside mansion where she had been locked up by the military rulers, to huge cheers and clapping from the waiting crowds.
The 2010 peace summit calls for a global nuclear disarmament in Hiroshima, the city obliterated by a US atomic bomb attack in 1945.
Those who could not attend the summit include this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who is imprisoned in China.
US President Barack Obama, who was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize partly for his commitment to nuclear disarmament, missed the meeting due to a scheduling conflict with the Group of 20 meeting in Seoul and an APEC meeting in Japan.
Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, who received the prize in 1990 for his role in ending the Cold War, cancelled for health reasons.