World Bulletin/News Desk
Authorities in Cape Town announced on Thursday that the 2014 summit of Nobel peace laureates would not be held in the city as earlier planned because the South African government had refused to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism.
"We are deeply angry and greatly disappointed that Cape Town will no longer be able to host the event," Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille said in a Thursday statement.
She said the summit's permanent secretariat was currently mulling an alternative venue.
"The primary reason for the relocation is the fact that the South African government refuses to issue a visa for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama," the mayor explained.
Cape Town was scheduled to host the event on October 13 to 15, but a majority of Nobel laureates and organizations demanded that the summit either be moved to another country or that the Dalai Lama be granted a visa unconditionally.
Last month, 14 Nobel laureates wrote to South African President Jacob Zuma urging him to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to attend the event. They have yet to receive a reply.
The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India, cancelled his planned visit to the country last month amid reports of the visa row.
It is the third time that the Tibetan spiritual leader has canceled a trip to South Africa after failing to obtain a visa.
Some observers have linked the visa controversy to the Dalai Lama's differences with China, which represents South Africa's number one trading partner in terms of both exports and imports.
Some believe South Africa does not wish to upset China by granting the Dalai Lama a visa.
"President Zuma's government has shamed the legacy of Madiba [late president Nelson Mandela]. It is now more clear than ever that South Africa under President Zuma has lost its moral compass and will do anything to appease the Chinese government, which is a significant supporter of the ANC," said De Lille.
Earlier Thursday, anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu likewise blasted the government for not granting the Dalai Lama a visa.
"I am ashamed to call this lickspittle bunch my government," he fumed.
Last Mod: 03 Ekim 2014, 11:41