Nobel summit moved to Rome

“The summit was suspended earlier in September after the South African government failed to issue a visa for His Holiness the Dalai Lama who had hoped to attend the world peace summit in Cape Town,” summit spokesman Navdip Dhariwal said in a statement on Sunday. 

“Instead the 14th global peace summit will be hosted by the city of Rome at the invitation of mayor Ignazio Marino between December 12th to 14th.”

The decision was made to relocate the summit from South Africa after the Dalai Lama was allegedly refused entry into the country. Nobel laureates threatened to boycott the summit if he was not granted a visa.

In September, 14 Nobel laureates wrote to President Jacob Zuma asking that a visa be granted to the Tibetan spiritual leader after he failed to secure a visa for a third time in five years.

Agence France-Presse quoted the Dalai Lama as saying he was refused entry to the country.

“The Nobel Peace summit scheduled to be held in South Africa to honour the legacy of our fellow laureate, the late Nelson Mandela, has been cancelled as the South African government wouldn’t allow me to attend it,” the Dalai Lama said in a speech in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala.

He accused South Africa of “bullying a simple person”.

The Dalai Lama’s representative in South Africa Nangsa Choedon said at the time that officials from the department of international relations had phoned her office to say the spiritual leader would not be granted a visa.

The department refuted the claim, saying the Dalai Lama’s visa application was a closed matter, as he had cancelled his trip.

At the time, China thanked South Africa and praised its “correct position” for denying the Dalai Lama a visa.

“China highly appreciates the support offered by the South African government on issues concerning China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang was quoted as saying by AFP.

“We also believe that South Africa will continue to uphold this correct position and continue to support China in this regard.”–Sapa

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