Join our Mailing List

"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Dalai Lama to meet French President Sarkozy Dec. 6

November 27, 2008

November 25th, 2008

Dharamsala, Nov 25 (IANS) -- Despite stiff opposition by the Chinese
government, the much-awaited meeting between the exiled Tibetan
spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and French President Nicolas
Sarkozy has been finalised and will take place in Poland early next
month. "The Dalai Lama has been invited to Poland to attend
ceremonies to mark the 25th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel
Peace Prize to Polish labour leader Lech Walesa in the first week of
December," Thubten Samphel, a spokesman for the spiritual leader,
told IANS Tuesday.

"French President Sarkozy, among other dignitaries, is also attending
the ceremonies. The two will meet in Poland Dec 6," Samphel added.

During his 12-day visit to France during the Beijing Olympics, the
Dalai Lama met Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Human Rights
Minister Rama Yade and First Lady Carla Bruni. However, Sarkozy did
not meet the spiritual leader.

Officials of the Tibetan government-in-exile said that Sarkozy had
acted diplomatically by not meeting the Dalai Lama during his visit
in August. Relations between France and China reached at a low ebb in
April in the wake of protests by Tibetans during the Olympic torch's
passage in Paris.

"Sarkozy diplomatically handled the situation on by not meeting the
spiritual guru (in France), and by participating in the opening
ceremony of the Games," an official said, requesting anonymity.

China has already criticised a planned meeting between Sarkozy and
the Dalai Lama.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang reaffirmed Beijing's opposition
to any form of contact between the Buddhist leader and foreign heads
of government.

"At present, China's relations with both France and the European
Union are improving and developing… We urge the French side to
proceed from the overall interest of bilateral relations," Gang said
in a statement posted on the ministry's website.

Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama Tuesday left for Nigeria. From there, he
will go to Czech Republic, and Belgium before reaching Poland.

The 73-year-old monk has travelled across the world to garner support
for "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet.

In the wake of repeated failures to find a solution to the vexed
Tibet issue, the Buddhist leader said Sunday that he was ready to
pass on his political role to Tibetans in exile and indicated that he
was ready to choose his successor, probably a girl.

The Dalai Lama blamed Chinese officials for the failure of bilateral
talks, saying: "My faith in the Chinese officials is getting thinner
and thinner, but my faith in Chinese people remains strong."
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank