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The Dalai Lama will be granted a Russian entry visa to go to Kalmykia on a purely religious visit
The Dalai Lama will be granted a Russian entry visa to go to Kalmykia on a purely religious visit, says Alexander Yakovenko, Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs official spokesman. The decision was made to meet Russian Buddhists' insistent requests. Kalmykia, on the Caspian north coast, is European Russia's only Buddhist area. The visitor's schedule bears out the pastoral purpose of his sojourn, pointed out the diplomat. The Dalai Lama will consecrate a Buddhist temple in Elista, Kalmyk capital, and will not meet the host country's officials or take part in whatever political events. Russia has not changed its stance on the Tibet issue. It regards Tibet as an inalienable part of China, and local developments a Chinese domestic affair, stressed Mr. Yakovenko. The Dalai Lama's visa does not mean Russia has made whatever shift in its contacts with China. On the contrary, it closely complies with the bilateral treaty of goodneighbourly relations, friendship and cooperation. Russia vouches to cling to its principled stance on the Taiwan and Tibet issues, as formalised in the treaty and other Russo-Chinese political instruments. The diplomat warned against regarding the Dalai Lama's visit as a step forward to Tibet problem settlement, which is a Chinese domestic issue, though Russia greets China's settlement efforts. Importantly, the Dalai Lama will have a private person's status while in Russia, Mr. Yakovenko pointed out.
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