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EU commission favourable to Sarkozy meet with Dalai Lama

July 12, 2008

EU Business
July, 11, 2008

BRUSSELS - EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner
said Friday she was in favour of a meeting between French President
Nicolas Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama.

"Dalai Lama is for all of us a spiritual leader so why should he not
meet with the Dalai Lama?" she said at a conference at Brussels
think-tank the European Policy Centre.

"I think it depends on the circumstances and the way it is being done
and I think it is also fair to inform our Chinese friends. It's the
fair way to do so," she added.

Tensions between Paris and Beijing have soared on the possibility the
French leader might meet the Dalai Lama during a visit to France in
August, even though Sarkozy has said he will attend the opening
ceremony of the Olympic Games in China.

On Tuesday, Chinese Ambassador Kong Quan warned of "serious
consequences" to Sino-French relations if Sarkozy met the exiled
Tibetan leader.

Sarkozy, whose country holds the European Union's presidency,
rejected Chinese pressure, saying it was not up to Beijing to set his agenda.

"It's not up to China to set my agenda and my meetings," he said, but
did not confirm whether he would meet the Dalai Lama during his
August 12-23 visit to France.
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