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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 appeals for support at end of private visit to Italy

December 19, 2007

TURIN, Italy December 17, 2007 (AFP) — The Dalai Lama on Sunday wrapped
up a private 11-day visit to Italy during which he met fellow Nobel
peace prize laureates and appealed for continued support for Tibet's bid
for autonomy.

"Tibetans have a very resistant spirit, but ultimately they begin to get
irritated," the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader told regional lawmakers
in northern Turin, according to the ANSA news agency.

"For this reason it is extremely important that your support continue,"
he said. "Ours is a just cause... (Tibetan) culture should be preserved
not just for the Tibetan people but for the entire international
community because it is a culture of peace, compassion and
non-violence," he added.

The Dalai Lama made a similar appeal last Thursday in Rome, urging
lawmakers to offer both concrete help as well as moral support.

The Tibetan Buddhist leader spoke in the parliament building but not in
the assembly chamber as some lawmakers had wanted.

"We do not want independence for Tibet, but only to preserve our
cultural traditions, which enrich even those of China," the Dalai Lama said.

China made clear its disapproval of the trip to the Italian foreign
ministry.

Beijing has complained to the Italian foreign ministry over the visit,
which took the Dalai Lama to Rome, Milan and Turin.

Recent meetings between the Dalai Lama and German Chancellor Angela
Merkel and US President George W. Bush have angered Beijing.

Also last Thursday, the 1989 Nobel peace prize winner met other Nobel
laureates including former Russian and Polish presidents Mikhail
Gorbachev and Lech Walesa at an annual summit in Rome.

In Milan, the Dalai Lama led a three-day conference attended by some
8,000 people.

The Dalai Lama and the pope met in October 2006, but an initially
scheduled meeting during the current visit was cancelled, in a decision
that Italian media reports said facilitated the recent ordination of a
new bishop in Guangdong, southern China, with the Vatican's approval.

China sent troops into Tibet in 1950 and officially "liberated" it the
following year. The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet following a failed
uprising in the region in 1959, now travels the world seeking support
for his calls for Tibetan autonomy.
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