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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

South Africa: Dalai Lama Welcome after 2010

March 29, 2009

March 24, 2009

JOHANNESBURG -- The South African government said
Tuesday that the Dalai Lama is not welcome until
after the 2010 football World Cup, for fear
tensions over Tibet would overshadow all other issues.

Organizers said earlier that a peace conference
scheduled in Johannesburg on Friday has been
indefinitely postponed because the government had
barred attendance by the Tibetan leader, who has
clashed with China. (Read "China Goes to Africa".)

Tibet's government-in-exile said South Africa was
acting under pressure from China, but South
Africa's government denied it. South Africa is
China's largest African trading partner.

Organizers said they hoped to hold the event when
the Dalai Lama could attend, and that they hoped
that would be before the World Cup.

Asked by reporters whether the Tibetan Nobel
peace laureate would be issued a visa before the
sporting event, Thabo Masebe, spokesman for
President Kgalema Motlanthe, said: "No, we
won't." He said he did not want a visit to be a
distraction at a time when South Africa was
hoping to showcase its transformation from pariah
state to international role model."You can't
remove Tibet from" the Dalai Lama, Masebe said.
"That becomes the issue and South Africa is no longer the issue."

Masebe had said a day earlier South Africa would
not allow the Dalai Lama to visit for the peace
conference, citing South Africa's ties to China
and generating sharp criticism of South Africa.
Fellow Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond
Tutu as well as members of the Nobel Committee
pulled out of the conference in response.

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