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De Klerk, de Lille blame govt for cancelled summit

The Dalai Lama earlier accused the SA government of “bullying a simple person”.

The Dalai Lama. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Former President FW de Klerk on Thursday pointed a finger at national government for the suspension of the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Cape Town.

Mayor Patricia de Lille this afternoon announced the gathering, scheduled to take place from 13 October, would probably be relocated.

The Dalai Lama's aides in South Africa say government told them the spiritual leader would not be granted a visa for a third time.

The Tibetan spiritual leader was meant to attend the gathering.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela says it's wrong to say the Dalai Lama was refused the necessary documents.

"That application underwent due process. We received a written letter from him that gave us confirmation that he is cancelling his trip to South Africa."

The Dalai Lama has now accused South Africa of "bullying a simple person".

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has lashed out at government, saying his comrades have "spat in his face".

De Klerk has also voiced his disappointment.

"We [as] South Africans showed the world that even the most intractable dispute can be resolved peacefully through negotiations. We wanted to share this experience with the world."

A number of laureates pulled out of the summit in solidarity with the Tibetan spiritual leader.

Summit organisers are now considering relocating it to a different country.

While many have reacted with outrage to the alleged visa denial, the Nelson Mandela Foundation says the entire situation is simply embarrassing.

"We hoping that the situation will be resolved and our country is saved from the embarrassment."

The foundation's Sello Hatang says South Africa should address whatever issue is making it difficult for the Dalai Lama to gain entry into the country.

At the same time, de Lille blamed the South African government for derailing the summit.

The summit will most likely be relocated to Rome, Italy, which hosted the previous seven summits.

"We have just been told today that 150 students from around the world are still coming to Cape Town because they are going to lose their money if they do not fly here, so we are still going to have one event," de Lille added.