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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Ottawa Visit of the Dalai Lama Cancelled

February 13, 2002

Montreal, February 13, 2002: The Canada Tibet Committee regrets to announce that the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Ottawa in April 2002 has been cancelled. In view of his recent illness, the Kashag (Cabinet of the Tibetan Government in Exile), as well as friends and supporters of the Dalai Lama and Tibet, have expressed concern about the many demands on his time.

"On the basis of medical advice we will request His Holiness to take complete rest for at least three months," stated Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, Chairperson of the Kashag. The Dalai Lama's planned visits to Europe and North America in March and April, respectively, have therefore been cancelled.

The Dalai Lama was released from Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai (Bombay), India on February 2 upon receiving a clean bill of health from his doctors. Admitted to the hospital on January 27, the Dalai Lama was diagnosed with an intestinal infection, which doctors believe he may have obtained from a food or water-borne amoeba. He was administered a course of antibiotics, which were very successful in eradicating the infection. The sudden illness of the Dalai Lama was mainly due to exhaustion from prolonged tours, teachings and other engagements, which did not allow him sufficient time for rest.

Over the past weeks, Tibetans and their supporters from around the world have performed prayers for the Dalai Lama's early recovery and good health.

"Of course we are disappointed, but our first concern is for the well being of the Dalai Lama," said Thubten Samdup, president of the Canada Tibet Committee, which was hosting the visit to Ottawa. "We will continue to press the Canadian government to play an active role in bringing the Government of China to the negotiation table to resolve the ongoing conflict peacefully. We anticipate concrete results before the Dalai Lama's 2004 visit to Canada." The 2004 visit has not been affected by the current cancellation.

The Canada Tibet Committee sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience that may have been caused by the cancellation and hopes that all will understand that this decision has been made in the best interest of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Contact: Ms. Tenzin Yangdon, (514) 487-0665, tenyang@tibet.ca

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