Dalai Lama undecided if he will reapply for SA visa

When EWN asked him if he would reapply, he giggled, saying he doesn't know & will see.

Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille with tTibetan spritual leader the Dalai Lama at the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome. Picture: Twitter via ‏@PatriciaDeLille.

ROME - The Dalai Lama has urged people not only to enrich themselves but to strive for the prosperity of humanity.

The Tibetan spiritual leader was speaking at the closing ceremony of the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome on Sunday.

The summit was moved to Italy from Cape Town at the last minute, following the debacle surrounding his visa application.

When Eyewitness News asked the Dalai Lama whether he would reapply for a South African visa, he merely giggled, saying he doesn't know and he will see.

When asked whether he was disappointed not to have met with Pope Francis, he admitted being turned down is something that often happens to him.

He said it doesn't bother him and realises that at times he poses a fountain of problems to other people.

The Dalai Lama said peace can only be achieved with reciprocal understanding and that he wants to the world to be a happy place.

At the same time, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says she's distressed by how many women and children are affected by conflict.

De Lille co-hosted the summit.

The theme of the summit was in honour of the late Nelson Mandela.

She said the scale and effects of conflict are overwhelming.

"What really shocked me is the number of wars that are taking place in so many countries around the world and just how disproportionately women and children are affected by wars."

The South African government came under criticism during the summit for buckling to pressure from China.

The summit was supposed to be held in the Mother City but the Dalai Lama wasn't given a visa, resulting in the withdrawal of a number of delegates.

De Lille cited the primary reason as government's failure to grant the spiritual leader a visa.

Government says the Dalai Lama withdrew his application but China later thanked the government for blocking him.

Several laureates then cancelled, resulting in the last minute move to Italy.

The City of Cape Town has said it lost an economic opportunity of about R60 million with the relocation of the summit.

Previous delays in dealing with the Dalai Lama's visa requests by the African National Congress-led government have angered South Africans who see it as a betrayal of the country's commitment to human rights since apartheid ended 20 years ago.

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.

A South African court ruled two years ago that officials had "unreasonably delayed" a decision on granting the Dalai Lama a visa in 2011,

Because of the delay, the Dalai Lama was unable to attend Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday in Cape Town in October 2011. The previous visa denial, in 2009, was also for a peace conference.