South African activist urges Pope to meet with Buddhist leader

South Africa respected activist, Archbishop Desmond Tutu,has appealed to Pope Francis to reverse on his decision not to meet Buddhist leader, Dalai Lama, during the Buddhist leader’s visit to Rome.

The controversial The Dalai Lama during his visit to Rome requested a meeting with Pope Francis which was turned down by the pontiff because of the Vatican’s sensitive position with China- who frowns at foreign dignitaries meeting with the Dalai Lama who has been exiled from the country- and Catholics in the country.

Desmond Tutu in a statement however expressed disappointment that the pontiff yielded to pressure by not meeting Dalai Lama.  "I am deeply saddened and distressed that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, should give in to these pressures and decline to meet the Dalai Lama," Tutu said in the statement.

The Dalai Lama was in Rome last Friday, December 12 for a summit of Nobel peace laureates after the event was earlier moved from South Africa after the Pretoria government declined to issue a visa for the 79-year-old Tibetan leader.

South Africa like the Vatican also dissociated from the Buddhist leader because of their relationship with China.

Desmond Tutu had earlier criticised the South African government for blocking the Dalai Lama's visits. He described the Dalai Lama as "a holy man who speaks about peace, co-existence and compassion."

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