French President meets His Holiness the Dalai Lama

flash061208761-tm.jpg
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) is welcomed by Tibet's spiritual and temporal leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Gdansk December 6, 2008. Sarkozy and His Holiness the Dalai Lama are attending celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of Polish pro-democracy icon Lech Walesa's winning the Nobel Peace Prize./Photos: Reuters

Dharamshala: French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who currently heads the EU’s rotating presidency, shared his concerns over the current situation in Tibet at a meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama Saturday in Gdansk, Poland.

Sarkozy said His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who welcomed him by draping a ‘khata’ or traditional Tibetan white scarf on his shoulder, had said at the meeting that he does not seek independence for Tibet. “I told him how much importance I attach to the pursuit of dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities.”

Asked about the situation in Tibet, Sarkozy said: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama shared with me his worries, worries which are shared in Europe. We have had a wide discussion of this question.”

flash061208762-tm.jpg
His Holiness the Dalai Lama with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Gdansk, Poland, on 6 December 2008.

“His Holiness the Dalai Lama also told me of his concerns over Tibet,” Sarkozy said, adding that His Holiness “indicated how much he supported my visit to Beijing for the Olympic Games” opening ceremony.

“I am free as the French president and the EU president, I have values and convictions. Let’s not make things tense, the world doesn’t need it and it doesn’t correspond to reality,” Sarkozy added.

Addressing China’s outrage over his move to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sarkozy said: “One must approach this calmly.

“The world needs an open China that participates in global governance. China needs a powerful Europe that gives work to Chinese enterprise,” he said.

Commenting on whether EU-China relations and trade could suffer over his planned meeting with Sarkozy, His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Friday remarked: “China also needs Europe.”

flash061208758-tm.jpg
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and His Holiness the Dalai Lama share their concern over the current situation in Tibet.

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk also met with His Holiness Dalai Lama Saturday in the northern city of Gdansk, where as a past recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize His Holiness had been invited to ceremonies marking 25 years since Poland’s anti-communist Solidarity icon Lech Walesa received the honour.

Earlier on Saturday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama called for dialogue and compassion to solve the world’s problems.

“Warfare failed to solve our problems in the last century, so this century should be a century of dialogue,” he told delegates, including Walesa, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

flash061208759-tm.jpg
His Holiness the Dalai Lama greets European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso (L) next to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk (2nd L) during the 25th anniversary celebrations of former Polish President Lech Walesa's Nobel Peace Prize, at Baltic Philharmonic in Gdansk 6 December 2008.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also attended Saturday’s ceremonies in Gdansk.

–compiled from reports from Reuters and AFP.