For eleven and a half years, Mr. Koch was the premier of the German state of Hesse and in May this year he announced his resignation from political life. During this period a special relationship between the Hesse State and Tibet has been developed. Mr. Koch is a long time friend and supporter of the Tibetan issue. He has often met His Holiness the Dalai Lama. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl attended the farewell reception.
On Chancellor Angela Merkel’s arrival at the open-air reception, the some 500 guests greeted her. Before she took her seat, she walked towards Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche. Chancellor Merkel greeted and shook hands with Kalon Tripa. He was seated in the same front row as Chancellor Merkel, former Chancellor Dr. Kohl and Mrs. Koch. Mr. Udo Jürgens, the famous German singer was seated next to Kalon Tripa.
The State Government had made VIP arrangements at Frankfurt airport to receive Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche in front of the airplane. A state protocol officer received Kalon Tripa at the airport. From there Kalon Tripa was driven in an official car to the state capital Wiesbaden with some 6 police motorbikes and a police car as escort.
At the farewell reception Kalon Tripa also met the incoming State Minister President Mr. Volker Bouffier.
This morning, Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche, accompanied by Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen and Mr. Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative based in Geneva, had a breakfast meeting with Mr. Roland Koch.
During the meeting, Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche on behalf of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people expressed his gratitude to Mr. Roland Koch for his friendship and support. Mr. Koch said that it was an honour to have Kalon Tripa at his farewell reception. He also said that the will continue to support the Tibetan issue.
Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche left Germany for Bangalore, India.