European Parliament gives
Dalai Lama rapturous welcome
Dec 4 (DPA) The 14th Dalai Lama called for "warm-heartedness"
and mutual trust Thursday, and rejected claims that he is
seeking to separate his homeland of Tibet from China, in a
speech that received a standing ovation from the European
a 20-minute address interspersed by pearls of wisdom, personal
anecdotes, humour and applause, the spiritual and political
leader of the Tibetan people also said it was wrong to view
worldwide support for his cause as being directed against
the Chinese government.
is not a separatist movement, I want to make this very clear,"
the Dalai Lama said. "It is in our own interest to remain
in a big nation like China."
harmony and unity could only be achieved through "mutual
trust and respect" rather than under the gun, the Dalai
Lama also welcomed a decision by some parliamentarians to
fast in solidarity for Tibet.
my fasting will only start after breakfast," he quipped.
Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering described the Dalai
Lama as a "champion of dialogue" and said the EU
(European Union) was duty-bound to press China on the need
to advance "democracy, human rights, freedom of expression
and at the fundamental principles of human dignity".
Buddhist monk's visit to Brussels took place against the backdrop
of a widening rift between China and the EU, which Beijing
has accused of pampering to the Tibetan cause.
last week cancelled a planned EU-China summit due to have
taken place Monday in Lyon.
has since warned that a meeting between French President Nicolas
Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama, planned for Saturday in Gdansk,
Poland, could severely affect trade relations between China
and France, French newspaper Le Monde reported Thursday.
1,400 French companies are present in China, including aircraft
maker Airbus and hypermarket chain Carrefour.
is also helping China build two new civilian nuclear power
plants, although Chinese exports to France are four times
the amount of French exports to China, resulting in a trading
deficit for France of nearly 20 billion euros ($25 billion).
whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU until
the end of the year, is due to meet the Dalai Lama in Gdansk
during celebrations for Lech Walesa, the former trade unionist
and Nobel laureate who helped rid Poland of its communist
head of the EU's executive arm, European Commission President
Jose Manuel Barroso, has also accepted an invitation to be
in Gdansk Saturday.
has in the past clashed fiercely with EU member states over
the question of the Dalai Lama, who is widely popular in Europe
but who it sees as campaigning for Tibetan independence.