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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."

Dalai Lama invited to receive Rome honour

January 16, 2009

ROME January 14, 2009 (AFP) ― Rome's city government announced Tuesday that it has invited Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to visit next month to be named an honorary citizen of the Italian capital.
 
"He has not yet confirmed whether he can come," said a spokesman for the city governed by right-wing Mayor Gianni Alemanno.
 
The city council had adopted in September a motion conferring the title of honorary citizen on the Dalai Lama as advocate for human rights and for "his international efforts to bring about a peaceful solution for Tibet", which fell under Chinese communist control in 1951.
 
He was supposed to receive the title last autumn but was prevented from traveling to Rome because of ill health, the city spokesman said.
 
The Dalai Lama, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, visited Italy in December 2007 to attend a summit of peace laureates and met with Italian lawmakers.
 
China had protested to the Italian foreign ministry over the visit, although the Dalai Lama did not meet with the government of then leftist prime minister Romano Prodi.
 
Beijing is against any foreign leaders meeting with the Dalai Lama, whom it accuses of seeking independence for Tibet -- a claim the Tibetan Buddhist leader denies, saying he wants meaningful autonomy for the Himalayan region.
 
The latest flare-up was just last month when China criticised French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Polish President Lech Kaczynski for meeting with the Dalai Lama during his visit to Poland.
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