Allow Dalai Lama to come to SA - De Klerk

2011-09-16 19:00
Johannesburg - Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama should be allowed to come to South Africa, former president FW De Klerk said on Friday.

"South Africa must decide on two things, is it an open society and secondly does it really respect religious figures?," De Klerk said in Johannesburg.

"In an open society he should be allowed to come."

He said the Dalai Lama was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and there was no justification for not granting him a visa.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has invited the Dalai Lama, who was refused entry into the country two years ago, to his 80th birthday celebrations in Cape Town on October 7.

Tutu warned that the government would "shoot itself in the foot" by again refusing his fellow Nobel Peace laureate entry into South Africa.

On Tuesday, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa was mulling the visa application by the Dalai Lama.

In 2009, South Africa barred the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader from visiting the country to attend a peace conference, for fear of jeopardising ties with China, a key trade partner.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since fleeing Tibet during a failed uprising in 1959.

He accepts Chinese rule, but Beijing accuses him of being a separatist and opposes his regular meetings with foreign leaders.

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Read more on:    maite nkoana-mashabane  |  desmond tutu  |  fw de klerk  |  dalai lama  |  tibet  |  china  |  politics
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