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Russia Denies Visa to Dalai Lama - 2003-09-23

Russia's foreign ministry says it has denied a visa to the Dalai Lama.

In a statement, the ministry says that while the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader is a respected figure in Russia, the Kremlin is required to consider Russia's national interests when considering the possibility of a visit.

The ministry's statement says Russia was taking into account China's negative view of the Dalai Lama's political activities.

This is the third time Russia's foreign ministry has refused to allow the Dalai Lama to enter the country.

Last month, the head of Russia's mostly Buddhist Kalmykia republic invited the Dalai Lama to come to the region. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said the invitation had been accepted and the visit scheduled for September 25.