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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Sarkozy: No regrets over Dalai Lama meeting

December 9, 2008

Kyiv Post - Kyiv,Ukraine
 
PARIS 8 December 2008 (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy, under fire from China over his meeting with the Dalai Lama at the weekend, said on Monday he did not regret the encounter.
 
Sarkozy drew China's wrath at the weekend by meeting the Dalai Lama, who is described as a secessionist by Beijing. China called off a summit with the European Union that was due to be held in France last week in protest at the meeting.
 
Sarkozy met the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader at a ceremony with Nobel Peace Prize winners in Poland after avoiding a meeting during the Beijing Olympics in August when the Dalai Lama visited France.
 
"The duty of a French president is to meet all the Nobel peace prize winners who wish to meet him, whatever their origins, whatever their convictions, whatever the cause they defend," Sarkozy said in a speech to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 
Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating six-month EU presidency until the end of the year, attended the opening ceremony of the Games in August, attracting censure from activists who criticise China's record on human rights.
 
"I went to the Olympic Games in China because it is a significant event which the Chinese organised perfectly and which was a success," Sarkozy said.
 
"I do not regret at all having represented Europe there, since I went there with the agreement of the 27 other heads of state and government," he added.
 
Without referring specifically to China, Sarkozy said leaders of Western countries faced a dilemma in dealing with authoritarian regimes which did not uphold human rights.
 
"Of all the difficulties of being president of a great country like France, the question of the best way of talking about human rights has certainly been the one that has most often led me to doubt and even hesitate," he said.
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