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Dalai Lama arrives in Lausanne, says "no problem" over shunning Swiss ministers

August 6, 2009

Phayul
August 4, 2009

Dharamsala, August 4 -- His Holiness the Dalai
Lama arrived Monday afternoon in Lausanne,
Switzerland, where he is expected to draw more
than 12,000 people at a skating rink in Malley.
The Tibetan leader who turned 74 last month will
give teachings on Lama Tsongkhapa's The Three
Principal Aspects of the Paths (lam ghi tsowo nampa soom) today.

His Holiness will confer a Medicine Buddha
Initiation tomorrow morning and accept a long
life offering ceremony from the Tibetan
Communities of Europe. Live webcast in English
and French will be available here.

The Tibetan leader’s program in the country does
not include any meeting with cabinet ministers.
"That really isn't a problem for me," the 1989
Nobel laureate told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper.
"I am here to learn and don't want to make anyone uncomfortable."

The Tibetan leader’s envoy based in Geneva,
Kelsang Gyaltsen, expressed his disappointment at
the Swiss government’s decision not to welcome
the Tibetan leader. In an interview he gave to
Swiss Info Kelsang said that His Holiness doesn't
wish to cause any inconvenience to any host
government. "It is alright if certain governments
don't meet him. But as a Swiss-Tibetan I am
disappointed with this decision by the Swiss
government. This is not helpful; it doesn't send
the right signal to the Chinese leadership that
they need to rethink their policy regarding Tibet and minorities in China.”

Kelsang further said that Switzerland has a
reputation as a country committed to humanitarian
values and traditions and to the ideals of
freedom and democracy. “By not meeting with the
Dalai Lama the decision of the federal council
[government] is in some way damaging the
credibility of these values for which Switzerland
stands in the eyes of the international community.”

His Holiness was welcomed by more than 200 people
at the Hotel Beau-Rivage in Ouchy on Lake Geneva,
where he will be staying for the duration of his visit.

According to the Swiss foreign ministry, Chiara
Simoneschi-Cortesi, the speaker of the House of
Representatives, will meet His Holiness. On
Thursday he will travel to Geneva for a Sino-Tibetan conference.

This is the Tibetan leader’s first visit to
Lausanne. In 2005 he visited Zurich, where 30,000
people gathered to hear him speak.
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