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Dalai Lama arrives in Poland for visit that irked China

December 7, 2008

GDANSK, Poland December 5, 2008 (AFP) — The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama arrived in Poland Friday for an eight-day tour during which he will meet visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy to the anger of China.
 
"I'm very happy to be in the city where the historic Solidarity movement was born and where my friend Lech Walesa began his activities", the Dalai Lama said as he arrived at the airport in the Baltic port of Gdansk and was welcomed by the city's mayor, Pawel Adamowicz.
 
The Dalai Lama and other past recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize were invited to a ceremony in Gdansk marking 25 years since Lech Walesa received the honour for leading Poland's Solidarity movement in a peaceful struggle against the then communist regime.
 
Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the 27-nation European Union, has insisted he will meet the Dalai Lama in Poland on Saturday.
 
In response, China decided to scrap a summit with the EU which had been scheduled for December 1 in France and which Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had been due to attend.
 
The Dalai Lama's trip to Poland is part of a wider European tour which has already seen him take in Prague and Brussels.
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