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Dalai Lama cancels visit to South Africa

For the second time in two years, the Dalai Lama has been unable to travel to South Africa, but Pretoria denies pressure from China.

Dalai lama protestsEnlarge
Some 150 people sing the National Anthem during an evening vigil outside the South African Parliament, to call on the South African Government to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to attend Archbishop Tutu's 80th birthday party, on October 3, 2011 in Cape Town. (RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

The Dalai Lama has called off his trip to South Africa, because the government failed to grant him a visa on time.

The Tibetan spiritual leader had been invited to South Africa by fellow Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

He was due to give a lecture on Friday to celebrate Archbishop Tutu's 80th birthday, despite concerns that pressure from China would derail the visit.

The Associated Press reported that the Dalai Lama had planned to leave his Indian exile home Thursday.

But after failing to receive a visa by Monday, his office issued a statement that said he was "now convinced that for whatever reason or reasons, the South African government finds it inconvenient to issue a visa."

But Pretoria maintained it did not come under pressure from China to stop the visit, reported the BBC, adding that Dalai Lama's supporters staged protests outside South Africa's parliament, claiming the country's sovereignty was being compromised.

The Dalai Lama was refused entry to South Africa in 2010.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/south-africa/111004/dalai-lama-cancels-visit-south-africa