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Saturday 16 December 2017

Dalai Lama ignored, Mugabe praised

THERE'S thanks for you! Not even a message of congratulations from the Dalai Lama to the Taoiseach could be answered for fear it could be misinterpreted.

But there were no such problems when Charles Haughey sent his own congratulations to the controversial Robert Mugabe on his appointment as premier of Zimbabwe.

The Dalai Lama dilemma arose after the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people sent his "felicitations" to Mr Haughey in December 1979 on his election as "prime minister of Ireland".

The Dalai Lama said he wanted to express his people's gratitude and appreciation for the understanding and support they had received from the Government and people of Ireland for the Tibetan cause.

"The support and inspiration we have received from Ireland during the darkest period of our history will long be remembered," he wrote

However, the Department of Foreign Affairs advised the Taoiseach's department that "no reply should issue".

"It is felt that a reply from the Taoiseach to the Dalai Lama could be misinterpreted in view of our recently opened relations with the People's Republic of China," it advised.

There was no such reluctance just months later when Mr Haughey sent effusive congratulations to Zimbawe's new prime minister Robert Mugabe.

"All those who have consistently supported freedom, justice and peace for Zimbabwe have been gratified by the successful conclusion of the election process and I am confident that, under your wise counsel and leadership, your country will advance towards full realisation of its potential," Mr Haughey wrote.

Irish Independent

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