Nobel peace laureates appeal to South Africa to give visa to Dalai Lama for Cape Town meeting

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A group of Nobel peace laureates is appealing to South Africa to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama, who abandoned an attempt to get permission to travel to Cape Town next month.

The 14 Nobel laureates said in a statement Monday that the Tibetan spiritual leader withdrew his application for a South African visa after being told he would not get it.

South Africa has close business ties with China and has previously denied entry to the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama wants increased autonomy for Tibet, the homeland from which he has been exiled since 1959. China says he is a separatist.

The Tibetan leader won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Nobel Peace Prize laureates are holding an annual meeting in Cape Town Oct. 13-15.