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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?"

Lama Gets to Meet Another Alternative PM

June 12, 2008

Jonathan Pearlman, Paul Bibby and Linda Morris
The Sydney Morning Herald
June 11, 2008

KEVIN RUDD has been criticised for failing to meet the Dalai Lama
during his visit to Sydney this week, leaving the official meeting to
a relative unknown, Senator Chris Evans.

In the absence of the Prime Minister, his deputy Julia Gillard, and
the Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith, the duty of meeting the
Nobel Peace Prize laureate has fallen to Senator Evans, who will be
acting Prime Minister.

A spokesman for Mr Rudd said the Prime Minister, who is in Japan,
could not arrange a meeting because he was not returning to Canberra
until Sunday night and the Dalai Lama was to leave on Monday morning.

The Tibetan leader was expected to arrive early today for five days
of meditation teaching sessions at Sydney Olympic Park.

A spokesman for the Australia Tibet Council, Simon Bradshaw, said Mr
Rudd's failure to meet the Tibetan leader was disappointing.

"Kevin Rudd is held in high regard by the Dalai Lama and the Chinese
leadership," Mr Bradshaw said. "We have been calling for him to meet
with both sides and to help to get a dialogue going."

In 2002 Mr Rudd met the Dalai Lama and criticised John Howard and the
then foreign minister Alexander Downer for refusing to do so. Last
year, before the federal election, Mr Rudd only agreed to meet the
Dalai Lama after Mr Howard announced a meeting.

The Opposition Leader, Brendan Nelson, has agreed to a meeting, and
yesterday a spokesman for him questioned why Mr Rudd was not doing the same.

"Kevin Rudd met with the Dalai Lama as opposition leader. Why
wouldn't he now? Dr Nelson will meet him, just as the opposition
leader did 12 months ago."

Preparations for the Dalai Lama's arrival were threatened yesterday
when his flight from Singapore was delayed by 10 hours. The delay
forced the cancellation of a news conference scheduled for this morning.

Organisers are expecting at least two protest groups to greet the
leader when he arrives at Sydney Olympic Park today, and have set a
two-metre steel security fence and weapons searches.

Monks and nuns from the Vajrayana Institute will present consecrated
statues from Nepal to the lama as an offering on the last of the five
days of meditation teachings. Other devotees will travel to Sydney
from countries including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the US and
China to take part in the sessions.

-- with Mark Metherell
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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