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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Prime minister says a very public hello to Dalai Lama

October 31, 2007

CanWest News Service
October 29, 2007

OTTAWA — The Dalai Lama touts Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a strong defender of human rights but the Nobel laureate has reservations about Canada's
combat role in Afghanistan, saying that non-violent means are the only way to win over minds in the war-torn country.

The world-famous pacifist made the comments prior to his historic meeting with Harper in the Parliament Buildings. He said if Afghanistan came up in their
conversation, he would tell Harper that meeting violence with violence only makes matters worse in a bad situation.

"I always believe non-violence is the best way to solve problems. Using violence, counter-violence, sometimes it creates more complications," said the Dalai Lama
about Afghanistan.

He spoke to reporters after meeting briefly with Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney at his Gatineau office, reminding them he had already expressed his
reservations about the war in Iraq when he recently met with U.S. President George W. Bush.

Kenney later said Afghanistan had not come up during the meeting with the prime minister: "Issues like that were not discussed, were not raised. It's no news the
Dalai Lama is an advocate of nonviolent, conflict resolution. It's our view that we are in Afghanistan at the invitation of the Afghan government and the United
Nations with the support of the Afghan people to defend them from violence."

"And I believe (if) you look at Tibetan history you'll see that self-defence is considered legitimate — a legitimate context for that."

The Dalai Lama lauded Harper's "strong" record on defending human rights: "I think personally it is my duty to express on behalf of, I think, many, many groups of
people who suffer under human rights violations. I want to turn to him, he is one of the leaders who speaks very strongly about human rights issues. And certainly he
is very, very sympathetic about Tibet."

The 72-year-old exiled Tibetan leader and Harper met for about 40 minutes in his Centre Block office, making it the first public meeting between a prime minister
and the Dalai Lama despite the objections of the Chinese government. A news conference was scheduled at the Chinese embassy late Monday afternoon where
officials were expected to further express their unhappiness with the day's events.

The Dalai Lama said he had "no particular political agenda" for his meeting with Harper but rather he simply wanted to promote "religious harmony."

The Chinese government view the 72-year-old Dalai Lama as a separatist who is seeking independence of a region integral to their country. Last week, the embassy
released a statement denouncing Harper's decision to host the Dalai Lama.

He said recent polls show that 80 percent of the Canadian population support the Dalai Lama and Tibet.

Conservative Senator Consiglio Di Nino, who met the Dalai Lama on the Hill along with other Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, predicted last week the Chinese
would "huff and puff" a lot about the meeting but it would not have any long-term consequences on trade between the two countries. Kenney also dismissed
questions Monday about Chinese sanctions against Canada as a trading partner.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet following the collapse of a rebellion in 1959. Harper is the latest western leader following Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and
Australian Prime Minister John Howard who have publicly met with him in recent months.

The Tibetan, who is an honourary Canadian citizen, said China should view Canada as a model of "multiracial, multicultural, multi religion" country, adding that
Chinese officials could learn from Kenney's ministry on "how to work for promotion of unity on the basis of mutual respect."

He praised Canada for accepting its native peoples as "First Nations", saying he would like to see the same accepting spirit from the Chinese government when it
comes to Tibet's "unique cultural heritage."

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