Dalai Lama allowed to visit Russia

Published November 30, 2004

ELISTA, Nov 29: The Dalai Lama arrived in Russia's Buddhist region of Kalmykia on Monday for a long-awaited visit after Moscow relented and issued him a visa in a move protested by Beijing.

The 69-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader was greeted by a small group of monks holding flowers and crying Buddhist faithful when he flew into an airport outside Kalmykia's capital Elista from New Delhi.

"I would like to express my greeting to my long-time friends," he said upon arrival. "My main interest is promotion of human values because I believe that in order to have a happy human community and in order to have a happy family, the basic human values are the foundation."

Monday marked the Dalai Lama's first visit to the southern province since 1992, when he made a tour of Russia's Buddhist regions that also included Buryatia and Tyva, in Siberia.

"Even if it is a short visit, it is very important for us," said Telo Rinpoche, the spiritual chief of Buddhists in Kalmykia. "Thanks to the support of His Holiness the Dalai Lama there has been great progress in the renaissance of the Buddhist faith in Kalmykia." -AFP

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