JOHANNESBURG Mar 24 – A planned South African peace conference involving Nobel laureates has been postponed over Pretoria’s refusal to grant a visa to Tibet’s Dalai Lama, organisers said on Tuesday.
"The convenors have therefore decided in the spirit of peace to postpone the South African peace conference to ensure it is held under conducive conditions," said Irvin Khoza, a top official for the South African organisers of the 2010 World Cup which was sponsoring the conference.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former South African president FW de Klerk withdrew from the peace conference on Monday after the Ticapitalfmnewn spiritual leader was denied a visa.
The laureates were meant to discuss how soccer can help fight racism and xenophobia, as South Africa gears up for next year’s World Cup.
"In processing of the visa application by the Dalai Lama the South African government persuaded the Dalai Lama to postpone his visit to South Africa at this stage," Khoza told reporters at a press conference in Johannesburg.
"Given that the purpose of the conference is peace the convenors do not wish to put the Nobel peace committee under circumstances that would create conflict between the committee and its laureates."
The Nobel peace prize committee also said it would boycott the conference unless South Africa reconsidered its decision to deny the Dalai Lama a visa.