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    WILL DALAI LAMA COME TO RUSSIA? DIPLOMATS WEIGH PROSPECTS

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 6, (RIA Novosti) - As prospects for the Dalai Lama's visit are considered, Russia has to take its international obligations into due consideration apart from justifiable wishes of the Russian Buddhist flock, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs press and information department says in a comment circulated today.

    The Buddhist Union of Kalmykia, constituent republic in European Russia's south, appealed to the ministry to issue an entry visa to the Dalai Lama for a pastoral visit to the republic, with a predominantly Buddhist population. The ministry promised to consider the appeal as conscientiously as possible.

    At the same time, the Foreign Ministry does not forget an essential matter-Russia's strategic partnership with China, a country to which the Tibetan issue is part of the problem of its territorial integrity.

    Tibet is an inalienable part of China. Russia stands firm on the point, and is not maintaining whatever official contacts with the Dalai Lama, stresses the ministerial statement.

    Tengjing Gyatzo, Dalai Lama XIV, has not been to Russia since 1992, when he paid an unofficial visit to Buryatia, constituent republic in Siberia, to serve a liturgy at the Ivolgino datsan (monastery), principal Buddhist seat in Russia, and receive representatives of the Buryat Buddhist community.

    The Dalai Lama has been an exile since 1960, when he settled in India. Chinese officials do not recognise the Tibetan spiritual leader. They staunchly come out against other countries allowing him religious activities which, they hold, aim to split China. The Dalai Lama is preaching Tibetan independence in religious disguise, is Beijing's opinion.

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