The decision to deny a visa to the Dalai Lama was made proceeding from Russia's national interests, RIA Novosti learned in the Russian Foreign Ministry's information and press department on Tuesday.
At the beginning of September 2003 president of Kalmykia /a Russian republic in the North Caucasus/ Kirsan Ilyumzhinov invited the Tibetan spiritual leader to visit the republic.
"Our country respects Dalai Lama as an outstanding religious leader who has many followers in this country as well," the ministry pointed out. "At the same time, when considering a possibility of Dalai Lama's visit we have to proceed from the national interests of Russia on the whole and to strictly comply with international commitments of the Russian Federation." These commitments include the Agreement on good neighborly relations, friendship and cooperation between Russia and China. According to Article 4 of this document, the Russian party supports the policy of China in the issues related to protection of the state unity and territorial integrity of the People's Republic of China, the ministry pointed out.
"China is negative about Dalai Lama's international activities, considering them separatist," the ministry recalled.
"The above mentioned clause of the Russian-Chinese agreement lies in the basis of Russia's principal standing on the Tibetan problem. Russia considers Tibet an inalienable part of China and does not maintain official contacts with Dalai Lama," it explained.
The ministry is aware that at present Beijing and Dalai Lama's representatives "are holding rather difficult, delicate negotiations." "Under such conditions, we, adhering to the principle of non-interference in other states' domestic affairs and understanding the delicacy of the Tibetan problem, would not like Dalai Lama's visit to Kalmykia on the invitation of the supreme official of this constituent member of the Russian Federation to negatively influence the prospects of this dialog," the ministry pointed out.
As China's strategic partner, Russia sincerely wishes that the Tibetan problem would be solved as soon as possible, the ministry concluded.