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Botswana risks China ties with visit from Dalai Lama

AFP  |  Gaborone (Botswana) 

The will visit Botswana next month and meet with President Ian Khama, Botswana officials confirmed, in a trip likely to anger China, a key investor across and its largest trade partner.

views the as a dangerous separatist campaigning for Tibetan independence and consistently condemns foreign leaders who meet him.


Botswana "will be extending the normal courtesies for visiting dignitaries", the said yesterday in a statement. "His Excellency (President Khama) will meet the when he is in Botswana."

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who lives in exile in India, is due to make a public address at the three-day "Mind and Life Dialogue" conference in the Botswana capital Gaborone on August 19.

Botswana's neighbour has repeatedly denied the a visa in an apparent attempt to further boost ties with China, drawing fierce criticism from archbishop Desmond Tutu and others.

China's growing demand for raw materials has seen a rapid rise in trade with

The Chinese has helped build coal-powered power plants, road networks, bridges and schools in Botswana, in some of its many infrastructure projects in

Many in the continent see as a counterbalance to the West, but the relationship has also raised accusations of neo-colonialism.

Botswana, one of the world's largest diamond producers, has a population of just two million people and is known for its stable political scene.

A spokesman declined to comment to AFP on any risk to relations with

The says he seeks more autonomy for Tibet rather than outright independence.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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