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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Dalai Lama visits Prague on first leg of European tour

December 2, 2008

Czech Radio 7, Radio Prague
December 1, 2008
The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is currently in Prague on the first leg of a European tour. After a meeting with the Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, he was reunited with an old friend: former president Václav Havel, on whose invitation he came to the Czech capital. The Dalai Lama is also due to visit Brussels and Poland, where he will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy. This has angered China, which has pulled out of a planned EU-China summit.
The Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, is currently visiting the Czech capital, the first stop on a short tour of Europe. Although he is set to deliver a speech at the European Parliament and meet the French president, the Dalai Lama says his European tour has no political agenda.
            “Everyone wants to have a happy life, and everyone has also the right to a happy and meaningful life. Every individual’s future depends on the rest of the world; therefore, we have to take care of the rest of the world. That’s what I usually call the sense of global responsibility on the basis of warm-heartedness.”
One’s future, the Dalai Lama said, also depends on one’s own action. That is the other part of the Dalai Lama’s message.
            “Warm-heartedness and compassion are human values that don’t necessarily come from religious teachings; we are very much involved in these human values from our birth.”
A strong reaction to the Dalai Lama’s European visit came from Beijing. The Chinese government cancelled on Friday a planned EU-China summit, planned for early December, over the Dalai Lama’s address to the European Parliament in Brussels and a planned meeting in Poland with the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. The Tibetan leader said he always thought it was much better to meet and talk despite disagreements and different views.
            “The Chinese media describe me now as a demon and a wolf, so now maybe I have horns. My faith in the Chinese government is thinner and thinner, but my faith in the Chinese people has never been shaken.”
The Dalai Lama is no newcomer to Prague; he has visited Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic many times, always on the invitation of former president Václav Havel. His first visit to Prague took place in February 1990 with Mr Havel having been the first head of state to have officially invited him.
As soon as you got freedom, President Havel sent an invitation to me. I was really honoured. Then, at once, we developed a very close relationship, almost like a family. One difference is that he’s a chain smoker.”
He’s stopped.
“Now he’s stopped, yes. I’m looking forward to meeting my beloved brother this afternoon.”
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