South Africa's new foreign minister says Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, is free to visit the country despite being denied a visa earlier this year.
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said Thursday the Dalai Lama is free, like any other citizen of the world, to visit South Africa.
However, the South African Press Association quoted the minister as saying that nobody should abuse South Africa's pro-human rights stance for their own agenda.
South Africa said in March the exiled Tibetan leader had been denied a visa to avoid undermining relations with China.
The Nobel peace prize winner was to attend a peace conference in Johannesburg linked to the 2010 World Cup in the city on ways football (soccer) can promote racial and ethnic harmony.
Other Nobel peace prize winners, including former South African presidents F.W. DeKlerk and Nelson Mandela as well as Archbishop Desmond Tutu were to have participated. The conference was postponed indefinitely after the Dalai Lama was denied a visa to visit South Africa.