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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Dalai Lama thanks Swiss for welcoming Tibet refugees

April 11, 2010

(AFP) - April 9, 2010

ZURICH - Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama thanked Switzerland
Friday for welcoming Tibetan refugees for over 50 years, making it home to
the largest Tibetan diaspora in the world. "It is our duty to thank the
Swiss government, (its) people and in particular the Swiss Red Cross", for
receiving many Tibetan refugees since 1959, the Dalai Lama said at a press
conference in Zurich.

There are currently around 4,000 Tibetans living in Switzerland.

The Buddhist leader has visited the country 13 times, and pays regular
visits to the monks at the Tibetan institute in Rikon, near Zurich.

The Dalai Lama, 74, who has lived in exile since 1959, has not called for
Tibetan independence, but wants to see greater autonomy for the territory
within China.

He said he "hoped" to achieve this in a decade. "It may not start next week,
or next month, or even next year. But within one decade."

The Dalai Lama is on a five-day visit to Switzerland, which began in Zurich
Wednesday, and during which he has met with the president of the Swiss
parliament, Pascale Bruderer.

No meeting is planned with any member of the Swiss government, "for schedule
reasons", Switzerland's foreign minister said.

"Why should I be disappointed?" the Dalai Lama asked when asked about not
meeting a government representative. He added that the aim of his visit was
to attend a conference on Buddhism.

Meetings between the 1989 Nobel Peace prize winner and officials of the
countries he visits have often created friction with Beijing.

China claims that Tibet is an integral part of the country and that any
meeting with the Dalai Lama constitutes interference in its internal

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