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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Balkenende criticised for refusing to meet Dalai Lama

May 19, 2009

Radio Netherlands
May 17, 2009

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) has
criticised Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's
refusal to meet the Dalai Lama as 'a sign of
little respect'. The Tibetan spiritual leader
will visit the Netherlands next month. During his
visit he will give a speech to senior business
leaders and government officials.

The Dutch branch of the ICT points out that
former Prime Minister Wim Kok did meet the Dalai
Lama when he visited the Netherlands in 1999.
Members of the ICT executive have been informed
by the foreign ministry that Minister Verhagen
will meet the Dalai Lama during a private meeting with other spiritual leaders.

China has reportedly put pressure on the
Netherlands to prevent a meeting between Prime
Minister Balkenende and the Dalai Lama.
Parliament, on the other hand, has urged the
government to give an official reception for the
Tibetan spiritual leader. In parliament on
Tuesday, MPs will ask the prime minister to
explain why he refuses to meet the Dalai Lama.
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