An emissary from President Mahinda Rajapakse`s office yesterday requested the organisers of the 2550 Buddha Jayanthi celebrations to desist from inviting the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader Dalai Lama to take part in the celebrations in the country later this year.
The official who visited the organisers had said inviting the Dalai Lama to the country at a time like this could cause an embarrassment to the Government given the high profile nature of the Dalai Lama.
In response, the organisers had requested a meeting with President Rajapakse shortly to explain to him the thinking behind inviting the Dalai Lama to the country and were assured of a meeting shortly with the President.
?We will continue with our preparations to invite the Dalai Lama and use the meeting to impress upon the President the positive impact the visit by the Dalai Lama would have on the country and on Buddhism,? an organising committee member said.
The visit by the Presidential emissary came days after an official of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo called on the organisers of the event and requested them to re-think the decision to invite the Dalai Lama. An Embassy spokesman said they had taken up the issue with the organisers of the event and not the Government as the ?Government is aware of the position of the Chinese Government on the matter.?
The official who met the organisers last Thursday said that relations between the two countries could suffer if the Dalai Lama was allowed to visit Sri Lanka.
The move to invite the Dalai Lama has also met with opposition from the JVP which said the world famous Buddhist leader is being used by the United States as a political instrument against China.
The Dalai Lama, who lives in India, is due to attend a ceremony in Buddha Gaya next month with President Mahinda Rajapakse and Chief Justice Sarath Silva also scheduled to attend the same ceremony.