Poland's President Meets the Dalai Lama

December 10th 2008

Warsaw, Poland, 10 December 2008 (AFP) - Polish President Lech Kaczynski met with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Wednesday in Warsaw, Poland's PAP news agency reported.

No official comment was issued by either side after the meeting but earlier Wednesday Kaczynski's press service had announced it would take place.

The Dalai Lama's talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, current holder of the EU presidency, in Gdansk, northern Poland, on Saturday triggered an angry reaction from China.

Beijing said the meeting had seriously harmed China's ties with France and Europe.

The Dalai Lama, the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate, had been invited to Gdansk by Polish anti-communist icon Lech Walesa to mark 25 years since he received the Nobel Peace Prize as leader of Poland's freedom-fighting Solidarity trade union.

China's Deputy Foreign Minister He Yafei on Sunday lodged "a strong protest" with France and Beijing summoned the French ambassador about Sarkozy's meeting with the Dalai Lama.

"This has undermined the political foundations of Sino-French and Sino-European ties," He was quoted as having told the French diplomat.

China argues the Dalai Lama wants full independence for Tibet, a claim which he himself has called "totally baseless."

He has lived in exile in India since fleeing his homeland after a failed uprising in 1959 against Chinese rule, nine years after Chinese troops invaded Tibet.

The Dalai Lama is currently on an eight day visit to Poland at the invitation of the Speaker of the Polish Senate Bogdan Borusewicz and Poland's ex-president Lech Walesa.

He has also met with Poland's liberal Prime Minister Donald Tusk, in Gdansk on Saturday.

 

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