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<-Back to WTN Archives Dalai Lama asks Hamas to renounce violence, won't take side on cartoon controversy
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Thursday, February 16, 2006



7. Dalai Lama asks Hamas to renounce violence, won't take side on cartoon controversy


By KARIN LAUB (Associated Press Writer)
Associated Press
02/15/2006

JERUSALEM - The Dalai Lama on Wednesday urged Hamas to renounce violence,
but refused to take sides in the increasingly bloody dispute over cartoons
of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

At the start of a five-day visit to the Holy Land, the exiled Tibetan
spiritual leader also said he is optimistic about talks between his envoys
and Chinese government officials. An emissary of the Dalai Lama arrived in
China on Wednesday for the fifth round of meetings since 2002, and the Dalai
Lama said the atmosphere has been improving.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet more than four decades ago during a failed
revolt against Chinese rule and now lives across the border in India,
brushed aside reports that China is upset with Israel for allowing him to
visit.

Israel Radio reported that the Chinese consul in Tel Aviv had sent a letter
of protest to the Israeli authorities, comparing the Dalai Lama to the head
of the Islamic militant Hamas, which is sworn to Israel's destruction. "If
China would let the head of Hamas visit, Israel would be angry," the radio
station cited the letter as saying.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev would not confirm that China
had sent such a letter, and said the Israeli government was not involved in
the Dalai Lama's visit. Officials at the Chinese Embassy in Tel Aviv
couldn't be reached for comment.

The Dalai Lama was not scheduled to meet any government officials during his
visit. Israel-China trade has doubled in the past five years, to US$2.4
billion (â,¬1.9 billion), and Chinese officials have said they expect it to
double again by 2008.

China routinely denounces what it says is a separatist campaign by the Dalai
Lama. The exiled leader reiterated Wednesday that he does not seek
independence for Tibet, but wants more autonomy to protect its culture and
environment.

"We always make clear, I am not seeking independence, I am not seeking
separation," he told a news conference.

Asked about Mideast strife, he appealed to Hamas to renounce violence, in
the wake of its victory in last month's Palestinian parliament election.
Hamas is under growing pressure from the West to end attacks, recognize
Israel and honor Israeli-Palestinian interim agreements.

The Dalai Lama noted that Hamas won a democratic election.

"I want to take this opportunity, and also my appeal to Hamas, now through
violent way it won't solve, it won't achieve what it wants," he said in
halting English. He called for "mutual respect" and urged the group to
approach the situation "more realistically."

The Dalai Lama is touring Israel for most of his visit, but on Sunday will
meet with Palestinians in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. "So if some Hamas
people may join, then I am happy to see them," he said.

The spiritual leader, who advocates religious tolerance, would not take
sides in the dispute over Danish newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad
which have sparked protests, some deadly, across the Muslim world. He said
it would be unfair to hold all Muslims responsible for the violent acts of a
few.

Asked to take a side, he said: "I think tricky question ... so difficult. If
you give me permission, I remain silent. No comment."


Articles in this Issue:
  1. Tibet talks start in Beijing
  2. Dalai Lama: Politics, religion equal violence
  3. China condemns Dalai Lama's Israel trip as 'ploy'
  4. China chides Dalai Lama for 'internationalising' Tibet issue
  5. Dalai Lama: Hamas must be more 'realistic' and reject violence
  6. Dalai Lama says happy to meet Hamas
  7. Dalai Lama asks Hamas to renounce violence, won't take side on cartoon controversy
  8. Kalmykia expecting Dalai Lama in summer - Ilyumzhinov
  9. "No Olympics in China Until Tibet is Free" - TYC led Indefinite Hunger Strike: Day 1



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