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The Dalai Lama arrives in Dharamsala after ground-breaking European tour

September 26, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, September 25: After a ground breaking visit to European
countries, the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama today
returned to his residential hill town of Dharamsala with the usual
road-side line-up welcome by Tibetans and visiting tourists excited to
catch a glimpse of him.

In more than two weeks of European tour, His Holiness visited Catalonia
capital of Barcelona, Portugal, Austria and Germany.

During the tour His Holiness was officially received by the Chancellors
of Austria and Germany at the respective Chancelleries despite drawing
sharp protests from China as usual.

While meeting with Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, on September
20, lasted for about 45 minutes, the meeting with Chancellor Angela
Merkel on September 23 lasted for nearly one hour.

The visit to German Chancellery is His Holiness’ first visit in history.

In Barcelona, His Holiness was received by the Vice President of the
local Catalonia government on September 10. His Holiness later addressed
the Catalonia parliament's foreign affairs committee on the very same day.

His Holiness’ visit to Portugal was marked by his first Public teaching
in Lisbon and meeting with the former President of Portugal, Mr Jorge
Sampio. While in Portugal His holiness visited the Portuguese national
parliament and addressed the Parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama meets with Austrian chancellor Alfred
Gusenbauer on 20 September in Vienna, Austria
China regularly reacts sharply to Dalai Lama’s visits to foreign
countries and his occasional meetings with world leaders.

Despite persistent efforts to undermine him by Chinese authorities,
Tibetans continue to revere the Dalai Lama as their spiritual and
political leader, and continues to remain highly popular among Tibetans
both in and outside Tibet.

Commenting on the Tibetan leader’s meeting with the German Chancellor,
German government spokesman Thomas Steg said, “The German government
believes that the Tibetan problem can only be solved by dialogue between
the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama.”

Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama, in an interview with the German newspaper,
reiterated that he is not seeking independence for Tibet, which was
occupied by Chinese troops in 1950, but autonomy.

"We do not want independence ... but we should be granted a real form of
autonomy," His Holiness was quoted as saying.

On Thursday, the Speaker of the 14th Tibetan parliament-in-Exile, in his
opening speech to the 4th parliamentary session said that a full report
of a comprehensive analysis of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue process by the
Task Force review meeting held earlier this month would be submitted to
His Holiness the Dalai Lama upon his return from Europe.

The latest sixth round of Sino-Tibetan dialogue was held between the
Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese leadership from 29
June to 5 July this year.

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