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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."

Protests Dalai Lama speech to Italian Parliament Rome

December 15, 2007

December 14, 2007 (AP) The Dalai Lama's latest defense of his native
Tibet, in a speech in Rome to the lower chamber of Italy's Parliament,
is drawing the usual rebuke from China.

Chinese authorities say the Tibetan Buddhist leader "is not a pure
religious figure but a political exile under the cover of religion" whom
they accuse of threatening national unity.

The Dalai Lama told Italian lawmakers that Tibet is not seeking
independence from China but only wishes to preserve its culture. He said
China, however, has taken an increasingly harsh stance.

There were no plans by the Vatican for a papal audience with the Dalai
Lama despite earlier reports there would be one. The Dalai Lama met with
Pope Benedict last year, but his current visit comes as the Vatican has
stepped up efforts to improve relations with China.
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