Government didn’t want Nobel summit in SA - De Klerk

2014-10-02 16:39
Former president FW de Klerk (AFP)

Former president FW de Klerk (AFP)

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Cape Town - The  government didn’t want the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates to be hosted in South Africa, said former president FW de Klerk on Thursday.

De Klerk said in a statement the government was “concerned about the criticism that participants would inevitably direct against it for its refusal to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama”.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille announced that the summit had been suspended and the permanent secretariat of World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates was considering relocating the event.

"The primary reason for the relocation is the fact that the South African government has refused to allow his holiness the Dalai Lama a visa to attend," De Lille said.

Last month, 14 Nobel laureates wrote to President Jacob Zuma asking that a South African travel visa be granted to the Dalai Lama. This was the third time in five years he could not secure a visa to enter South Africa.

At the time the international relations department said the Dalai Lama's visa application was a closed matter, and that he had cancelled his trip.

“I can understand the reaction of the Nobel Peace Laureates, but nevertheless am convinced that it was not the most appropriate response to the visa refusal,” De Klerk said.

De Klerk said between 1990 and 1996 SA was the best examples of the vision that Alfred Nobel had in mind when he instituted the prize more than a century ago.

“We wanted to share this experience with the world and with our fellow Nobel Peace laureates in Cape Town.

He said the main responsibility for the suspension of the summit lies squarely with the government. 

“Our foreign policy is supposed to reflect the values in our Constitution. The refusal of a visa to the Dalai Lama is the antithesis of those values.”

Read more on:    fw de klerk  |  dalai lama  |  jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  nobel prize

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