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Presidency yet to comment on Dalai Lama visa

The pressure continues to mount on President Jacob Zuma to react to calls to grant the Dalai Lama a visa.

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town says it's still awaiting a response from the presidency on the latest debacle surrounding the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan Spiritual Leader, whose real name is Tenzin Gyatso, was expected to attend the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Cape Town next month.

But he cancelled his visit amid a developing row over whether or not he would in fact be allowed to enter the country.

The pressure continues to mount on President Jacob Zuma to react to calls to grant Gyatso a visa.

Foundations in the name of FW de Klerk Foundation, Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu have all urged president Zuma to intervene.

Cape Town Mayoral spokesperson Zara Nicholson says there has been no word from the president on the matter.

"Nobel Laureates wrote to President Zuma asking him to intervene but they have not heard any response from the president as yet."

Nicholson she says the Cape Town Mayor will continue to apply pressure on the relevant authorities in an effort to have Gyatso granted a visa

"She is been constant contact with the organising committee as well as the permanent secretariat are engaging on a continuous basis to see what's the next step is."

The FW de Klerk Foundation also confirmed that 14 Nobel peace laureates have written to President Zuma urging him to issue Gyatso with a visa to visit South Africa.

The foundation's Dave Steward told Eyewitness News the laureates have written to the president individually, after signing a letter penned by his organisation.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation maintained normal procedure was followed with the Gyatso's visa application and the application was withdrawn.

It's third time in five years the Gyatso has abandoned plans to visit South Africa due to visa problems.

China subsequently thanked South Africa for taking the "correct position" on the alleged visa refusal.

China brands the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule of Tibet, a separatist.

The Dalai Lama says he is seeking more autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.

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