South Africa found it inconvenient to grant visa: Dalai Lama (Lead)

October 7th, 2011 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, Oct 7 (IANS) Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Friday said he called off his South Africa trip as it was “inconvenient” for the government there to grant him a visa.

In a congratulatory message to his fellow Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu on his 80th birthday, the elderly monk said: “I am very, very eager and looking forward to seeing you personally. I just waited till day before yesterday, but then there was a clear sign.

“My representative in New Delhi approached the Africa mission there, but till even last day there was no answer. So then I felt this was a clear sign that your government (found it) very inconvenient. Therefore, I cancelled my visit.”

The Nobel Peace prize winner said he hoped to meet former South African president Nelson Mandela but doubted if that was possible now.

“I am very sad and very much (hoped) to see Nelson Mandela, who is now very old. So now I doubt whether I can have another occasion to meet him,” he said in the message.

“On this special and significant occasion of your 80th birthday, with this scarf and my folded hands, I want to express my greetings on your happy birthday,” the Dalai Lama, 76, said.

The Dalai Lama was invited for former archbishop Tutu’s birthday celebrations.

The birthday celebrations began Thursday inside St George’s Cathedral, where Tutu rallied for an all-race democracy as Anglican archbishop of Cape Town.

However, both Nobel laureates and long-time friends will come face to face Saturday, through a video link.

“His Holiness Dalai Lama and (retired archbishop) Tutu will hold a conversation Saturday morning through videolink,” Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at the Dalai Lama’s office, told IANS here.

The Tutu’s Peace Centre has announced: “The inaugural Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture will proceed Saturday at the University of the Western Cape, with His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama joining the event via live videolink from Dharamsala.”

After the Nobel Peace winner called off his visit to South Africa visit, Tutu was quoted as saying in Cape Town: “Our government is worse than the apartheid government because at least you were expecting it from the apartheid government.”

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