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Russian senators from Buddhist regions ask foreign ministry for visa for Dalai Lama

March 7, 2010

Interfax (Russia)
March 5, 2010

Moscow, March 5, Interfax -- Senators from
Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva, predominantly
Buddhist internal republics of Russia, have asked
the Russian Foreign Ministry to grant a visa to
the Dalai Lama, so that he may visit Russia.

"We prepared an appeal to Sergey Lavrov asking
him to give a visa to the Dalai Lama for a
pastoral visit to Russia. All six senators from
the three Russian regions where Buddhism is
professed signed it," senator from Kalmykia Mikhail Kapura told Interfax.

Members of the Federation Council, the upper
chamber of the Russian parliament, met with
Buddhist leaders from Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva
at which a decision to officially invite Dalai
Lama to Russia was made, he said. "An official
invitation, [from Buddhist organizations] which
is considered a reason to issue a visa, was sent to His Holiness," Kapura said.

The senator pointed out the recent Dalai Lama's
visit to the United States prompted a negative
reaction from China. "Since Russia and China have
strong neighborly relations and interstate
agreements signed, we cannot fail to take into
account the opinion of our strategic partner [on
issuing a visa to Dalai Lama]. However, we cannot
fail to take into account the desires of the
people who profess Buddhism. Time is required," he said.

The Foreign Ministry has yet to reply to the
senators' appeal, he said. "This shows that the
issue is being discussed. This is a good sign," Kapura said.
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