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Friday, 25 August, 2000, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Analysis: Dilemma over Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama
Decision not to invite Dalai Lama has infuriated many
By Religious Affairs correspondent Jane Little

Geopolitics has thrown chaos and confusion over an event that was meant to encourage world peace and harmony.

The Millennium World Peace Summit, backed by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, was to bring 1,000 leaders from every religion around the globe to work with the UN on issues from conflict resolution to protection of the earth.

But the decision not to invite the Dalai Lama, under pressure from the Chinese who have power of veto at the UN, has infuriated many.

Fellow Nobel Peace Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has withdrawn in protest saying: "This totally undermines the integrity of the UN and the credibility of the summit."

A spokesman for the Tibetan Government in exile condemned the UN as weak in giving into China's pressure.

Beijing regards the Dalai Lama as a political leader whose campaign for an end to Chinese repression in Tibet is an unwarranted attempt to split the country.

Last-minute gesture

The organisers of the summit have belatedly extended a partial invitation that would exclude the Dalai Lama from appearing in the UN General Assembly, but for many it is too little, too late.

An international petition has been gathering signatures in support of the Dalai Lama.

Several organisations have pulled out, charging that the event is worthy but unfocused.

Still, despite the fact that the original wish list of participants, headed by the Pope, has not come to fruition, the organisers insist this will be an unprecedented affair.

A unique chance to bring together a diverse collection of priests and patriarchs, muftis and swamis, who together, they say, could make a real difference on the world stage.

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See also:

25 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
UN chief defends Dalai Lama snub
18 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Dalai Lama snubbed
23 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
China 'beating' Tibet separatism
24 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Bank delays China loan review
26 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
China accused of ruining Tibet
18 Feb 00 | South Asia
Dalai Lama's appeal for Tibet
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