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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Russia Ready To Assist To Resolve Tibet Issue

May 19, 2010

(RTTNews) -  In a possible major policy shift, Russia said Thursday it was ready to mediate between China and the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama who left his country following the Chinese invasion to resolve the long-unresolved issue of Tibet.

Addressing the Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said if all the parties to the conflict made sincere efforts to separate purely "pastoral" contacts from politics, this could bring about a solution to the problem, and Moscow was ready to assist in this regard.

He said his country supported the development of inter-religious and inter-faith ties, but was against aspects of religion being politicized. He said occasional attempts to politicize the Dalai Lama's role as a spiritual leader did not yield any desired results, including the development of ties between the Dalai Lama and Buddhists in Russia.

"We are carefully following what is happening between the leadership of China and the Dalai Lama, and we know that the Chinese leadership is deeply committed to the Dalai Lama dissociating himself from any kind of political activity and separatist tendencies," Lavrov said.

So far Moscow, which recognizes Tibet as integral part of China, is looking at the dispute between the Dalai Lama and China as Beijing's "internal matter".

Despite many rounds of talks on the Tibet issue between representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Government no progress has been made.

Russia, which in 2004 reluctantly allowed the Dalai Lama into the country to meet with his followers, has been under pressure from representatives of Kalmykia's Buddhist community to allow another visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader.

There are an estimated 700,000 Russian followers of Buddhism--one of the officially-recognized traditional religions of Russia along with Orthodox Christianity, Islam and Judaism--mostly in the eastern areas like Buryatia bordering Mongolia and the Republic of Kalmykia in South Russia.

China, which has always claimed Tibet as its territory, condemns world leaders who meet with the Dalai Lama as it accuses the Tibetan monk of heading a separatist movement seeking independence for Tibet.

In February, U.S. President Barack Obama met with the Dalai Lama at the White House, which led to a souring of relations with China, but Washington stood its ground.

by RTT Staff Writer

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