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Opposition party challenges SA government to invite Dalai Lama to presidential inauguration

April 20, 2009

Phayul
April 19, 2009

Dharamsala, April 19 -- The Democratic Alliance
has asked the government to disclose whether it
has extended invitation to His Holiness the Dalai
Lama for the presidential inauguration on May 9,
2009, according to the official website of the
main opposition party of South Africa.

The South African government indicated Thursday
that it has already invited various heads of
state to attend the presidential inauguration.

"The Dalai Lama is a head of an exiled government
and a champion of human rights which should
suitably qualify him to attend the event. It
would also be a fitting way to compensate him for
the embarrassment previously caused by denying
him a visa," said a message by Joe Seremane, DA
Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs.

"If the government was genuine in its earlier
assurance that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is
welcome to visit South Africa in future, it must
do the right thing and invite him to the
presidential inauguration. If it fails to do so
it must explain its reasons for continuing to
prevent him from visiting our country,” said Seremane.

Seremane further said that inviting the Dalai
Lama to the presidential inauguration will go a
long way in improving South Africa's tarnished
international image which was severely aggravated
by the government's refusal to grant him a visa
to attend the 2010 Soccer World Cup Peace Conference.
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