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Tibet-Dalai-Lama-India-Delhi-2017Mumbai — The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama has announced that the spiritual leader of Tibet has cancelled a coming visit to the Republic of Botswana, actually scheduled for August 15-20 this year. Exhaustion was the reason cited for the cancellation.

The official statement released on Friday (August 11, 2017) said the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate had written to the president of Botswana and the conference organisers, the Mind and Life Institute, expressing "profound regret" at having to cancel his visit "due to exhaustion".

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to both His Excellency Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana and Dr Susan Bauer-Wu, President of Mind & Life Institute today, expressing profound regret at having to cancel his impending visit to Botswana due to exhaustion," the statement said.

"During the past few weeks, His Holiness has found that carrying out his activities has left him unusually tired. Although he had been eagerly looking forward to visiting Gaborone from August 15 to 20 and participating in the Mind & Life Conference and other engagements, His Holiness has reluctantly had to concede that his 82-year old body was telling him to rest," it said, adding: "Since his physicians have also advised him to avoid undertaking long journeys for the next few weeks, His Holiness will return to Dharamshala to recuperate."

In his letter to President Khama, "His Holiness expressed deep admiration, respect and gratitude to him and the Government of Botswana for their unwavering principled stand to welcome him to their country, despite overwhelming pressure not to do so. His Holiness repeated his disappointment at being unable to come to Botswana at this time."

In his letter to Dr Susan Bauer-Wu he wrote, "I was very much looking forward to visiting Botswana and participating in the Mind & Life Conference centered on discussions of Ubuntu, which is very similar to my fundamental belief that we are all interdependent and therefore need to conduct ourselves with a sense of universal responsibility. Despite my absence, I urge all of you to continue with the conference, to hold valuable discussions and publish the results. Many of you are familiar with how I think and can share those ideas with others during the proceedings."

The Nobel Peace Laureate also requested her to offer apologies on his behalf to her fellow organizers, as well as all the panelists. He expressed his happiness and joy to know that the conference will remain as scheduled.

The statement came after weeks Botswana confirmed it will allow His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit as "a foreign dignitary" despite China's strong opposition. Botswana Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi told lawmakers that the visit was "purely private" but added that the Dalai Lama would be granted the status of a foreign dignitary.

She did not confirm a government announcement last week that he would meet President Ian Khama, which prompted a stern response from Beijing.

However the president will "extend basic courtesies for Dalai Lama" and the government protocol office "is charged with the responsibility to facilitate foreign dignitaries... this includes Dalai Lama," the foreign minister said.

Venson-Moitoi also said in a parliamentary answer that "the principle of non-interference in the international affairs of other countries is at the core of China's foreign policy. We therefore expect... China to respect our sovereign decision on this matter."

Tibet was invaded by the Communist regime in China, starting in 1949. Since that time, over 1.2 million out of 6 Tibetans died as a direct result of China's invasion and continued occupation of Tibet, over 6000 monasteries have been looted and destroyed— Crimes against Humanity and Genocide include murder, massacres, torture, rape, starvation, extreme deprivation, forced marches, enslavement, brutal violence, and systematic extermination. The communist regime continues to call this a 'peaceful liberation', that the "Tibetans are living in a Maoist socialist paradise."

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