Sun, Aug 13, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Dalai Lama cancels Botswana trip due to ‘exhaustion’

AFP, NEW DELHI

The Dalai Lama has canceled a trip next week to Botswana because of “exhaustion” after Beijing expressed anger at the African country for allowing the visit.

The 82-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader, who lives in exile in India, was to speak at a three-day conference in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, set to begin on Thursday.

An official statement released late on Friday said the Dalai Lama had written to Botswanan President Ian Khama and the conference organizers, the Mind and Life Institute, expressing “profound regret” at having to cancel his visit “due to exhaustion.”

“His Holiness has reluctantly had to concede that his 82-year-old body was telling him to rest,” the statement said. “Since his physicians have also advised him to avoid undertaking long journeys for the next few weeks, His Holiness will return to Dharamsala to recuperate.”

The Buddhist leader has lived in exile in India since he fled a failed Tibetan uprising in 1959.

Botswana said last month that the visit was “purely private,” but added that the Dalai Lama would be granted the status of a foreign dignitary.

Beijing issued a warning to Botswana, asking the African nation to respect China’s “core interests.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang (陸慷) last month called on Botswana to “earnestly respect” China’s sovereignty, and “make the right decision” on Tibet-related issues.

“China will not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs and we will not accept that other countries do things that would harm the core interests of China,” he said.

China is a key investor in Africa and the continent’s largest trade partner. In Botswana it has helped build power plants, road networks, bridges and schools.

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