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Dalai Lama may not get visa to Sri Lanka

By Munza Mushtaq, Asian Tribune, Jan 5, 2006

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Amidst reports of a possible visit by the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the to Sri Lanka, the Foreign Ministry is yet to receive a request seeking approval for such a visit.

<< The Mahabodhi Society reportedly intends to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama for the 2550 Buddha Jayanthi commemoration programme.

The Mahabodhi Society reportedly intends to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader for the 2550 Buddha Jayanthi commemoration programme.

But sources noted that in the event the Dalai Lama was planning to visit Sri Lanka, authorities are likely to stall the visit for a second time. In 1999 when Chandrika Kumaratunga was the President, a request made by several Buddhist organizations to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader was turned down on grounds that the Government did not want to 'upset the Chinese'.

The then Deputy Foreign Minister Lakshman Kiriella said, "We have very good relations with China. Any decision we take must be well thought of."

Dalai Lama, fled Tibet in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Communist rule and is now living in exile in India.

The Sri Lankan Government at that time made a statement to the effect that they respected the "one China policy" and integrity of China.

"It is likely that even the present Government will take such a stand specially with so many Chinese funded projects in the pipeline, no one will obviously want to be on bad terms with China, which has also been a 'very good' friend to Sri Lanka," sources noted.



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