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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."

Don't forget Tibet: Dalai Lama

May 22, 2008

The Guardian/Press Association
May 21, 2008

London, May 21 - The Dalai Lama has appealed to Britain not to forget Tibet in its efforts to forge stronger relations with China.

On the second day of his visit to the UK, the exiled Tibetan spiritual and political leader brushed aside criticisms of Gordon Brown's refusal to meet him in Downing Street.

At a packed Westminster news conference he insisted that his visit had always been intended to be "non-political".

He also went out of his way to praise the response of the Chinese authorities to the Sichuan earthquake, and even suggested that he would be prepared to attend the Beijing Olympics in August.

But while he acknowledged that building economic relations with China was important for Britain and the West, he said that they should not forget their commitment to human rights.

"The economy is important, but human values are more important. Human issues like human rights," he said.

"While you are making close relationship in the business field, there is no point in forgetting about principles. I think that is very important."

The Dalai Lama rejected suggestions that Britain and other Western nations had been "cowed" by China's economic power.

Mr Brown has been accused of "kow-towing" to the Chinese by arranging to meet him at Lambeth Palace - the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury - in his capacity as a spiritual leader rather than receiving him at No 10. However, the Dalai Lama said: "Basically, my visit is non-political. The media have politicised it."

He said that he would express his appreciation to Mr Brown for the "genuine concern" he had shown over Tibet when they meet on Friday.
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