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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?"

Government to Receive Dalai Lama "as Religious Leader"

April 27, 2009

NIS News Bulletin (The Netherlands)
April 24, 2009

THE HAGUE, April 24 - Foreign Minister Maxime
Verhagen will receive the Dalai Lama. He will be
welcomed as a leader of Buddhism, but not as the
leader of Tibet, it emerged yesterday in a Lower House debate.

As already announced, the Dalai Lama is visiting
the Netherlands on 5 June. He was invited by an
independent foundation. The Lower House said last
week it will go ahead and receive the Tibetan
leader after China told the House in a letter
that this would be damaging to relations with the Netherlands.

The question remained whether the government
would show resistance to the Chinese pressure as
well. Verhagen said yesterday that he will
receive the Dalai Lama at a meeting along with
other religious leaders. He stressed that the
Dutch government will not meet him as leader of
Tibet. "The Netherlands does not support the
independence struggle of Tibet," he said. It is
not clear whether Premier Jan Peter Balkenende will be present as well.

There are concerns in the business world about
trade relations with China. Verhagen takes these
concerns seriously. "But it is completely clear
that it is up to the government to weigh up
whether and in what way it receives the Dalai
Lama as religious leader," said Verhagen. This
also applies to parliament, he informed the
Chinese ambassador in "clear terms."
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