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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."

Wary of China, Russia says no to Dalai visit

June 17, 2010

Sachin Parashar, TNN
The Times of India
June 16, 2010

NEW DELHI -- In yet another manifestation of
China’s might, Russian diplomats have met their
Chinese counterparts in Delhi to assure Beijing
that Moscow won’t allowthe Dalai Lama to visit
Russia "under the present circumstances". Stating
that the spiritual leader’s activities had
acquired a political tinge, Russian officials
said their advice to the Dalai Lama was to
improve relations with China and refrain from political activities.

The Russians were pushed into damage-control mode
after Beijing was said to have been offended by
an alleged remark by Russian ambassador to India
Alexander Kadakin that Russia may issue a visa to
Dalai Lama. The Chinese, however, had not
registered any official protest. The Russian
embassy denied that any such remark had been made by the ambassador.

The Russians have attributed the confusion to a
"mistake" in the transcript of an interview which
Kadakin gave to an agency recently, on a visit to
Himachal Pradesh. "The Russian foreign minister
has made it clear that Russia treasures strategic
partnership with China and has no intention of
damaging it. For this reason, Russia’s advice for
the Dalai Lama is to improve relations with
Beijing and stay away from politics," said a Russian embassy official in Delhi.

"If he chooses to pay a pastoral [religious]
visit, there should be no problem. But he will
have to look differently on the purpose of his
visit first. For now, a visit by the Dalai Lama
or a visa for him is out of the question," he added.

According to the Russian embassy, its diplomats
have met the Chinese embassy councillor in Delhi
to brief him on the Russian position and provide
him with the authentic text of Kadakin’s interview.

The Dalai Lama has visited Russia several times,
the last one being in 2004, to the traditionally
Buddhist dominated areas of Kalmykia near the
Caspian Sea. However, with Moscow being
excessively keen on building good relations with
Beijing, it has since refused to issue visa to the Tibetan leader.

Only last month, Russian foreign minister Sergei
Lavrov criticized Dalai Lama for his "provocative" stand.
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