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South Africa's decision to ban Dalai Lama outrages Nobel peace laureates

March 24, 2009

Newspost Online (India)
March 23, 2009

London, Mar 23 (ANI) -- Tibetan spiritual leader
the Dalai Lama has been barred from entering
South Africa to take part in a peace conference
linked to the 2010 football World Cup, plunging
the country into a diplomatic row.

The decision was met with outrage by fellow Nobel
peace laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the
former President F. W. de Klerk, who are
organising the conference on March 27 with the Norwegian Nobel Peace Committee.

Archbishop Tutu urged the South African
Government, which has close ties to China, to
reconsider its disgraceful decision and
threatened to boycott the meeting, planned to
promote the first World Cup tournament to be held
in Africa, The Times reported.

If His Holinesss visa is refused, then I wont
take part in the upcoming 2010 World Cup-related
peace conference. I will condemn the Governments
behaviour as disgraceful, in line with our
abysmal record at the UN Security Council, a
total betrayal of our struggle history.

We are shamelessly succumbing to Chinese
pressure. I feel deeply distressed and ashamed, he said from California.

South Africa vetoed proposals for tougher
sanctions against Zimbabwe and Burma when it
occupied a non-permanent seat on the Security Council last year.

An invitation to the conference was also issued
in the name of Nelson Mandela, another laureate.
He has not yet reacted to the Governments decision.

A senior presidential aide told The Times that
the Dalai Lamas presence in the country would not
be welcome as it would divert attention away from
the World Cup towards the Tibet issue.

Dave Steward, a spokesman for the F. W. de Klerk
Foundation, said that the former President has
expressed concern to the presidency and the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

South Africa is Chinas main trading partner in
Africa and accounts for more than 20 per cent of
Beijings trade with the continent. (ANI)
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