News and Views on Tibet

Dalai Lama calls for dialogue, not war

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Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner the Dalai Lama said on Monday nothing good could come of war and dialogue was the best way to resolve conflict.

When asked about the US-led military action in Iraq, the Dalai Lama said he did not want to comment directly, but said he believed in non-violence.

“When there is war there is destruction and nothing good can come from that,” he told a press conference in the Indian capital New Delhi.

“Proper conflict resolution should be through dialogue. It needs more determination and more patience. It may take more time but it is better.”

The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Prize in 1989, added: “I do not think violence is an appropriate method. Non-violence is the right method.

“The only appropriate method of resolving a problem is dialogue not by force.”

He added that the Iraq situation was “very complex” and the United Nations “could not do much” about it.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet after an abortive uprising in 1959 and established a government-in-exile in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala.

China, which has occupied Tibet since 1951, has been accused of trying to wipe out its Buddhist-based culture through political and religious repression and a flood of ethnic Chinese immigration.

The Dalai Lama reiterated his policy of Tibetan autonomy within China, rather than independence, and said he hoped the culture and spirituality of Tibet and its traditions could be preserved.

“It is our only interest to seek autonomy within the constitution of China,” he said, adding he was not “anti-Chinese.”

“If the Tibetans get the right to preserve their architecture and environment, then as far as economic development is concerned we might get greater benefit by remaining within China.”

Last year a Tibetan delegation visited Beijing, raising hopes that China would reopen dialogue with the Dalai Lama which was broken off in 1993.

“Last September we renewed contact. The atmosphere was quite warm and quite positive. It is a good beginning. Let us see what will develop,” he said.

He said another delegation could make a visit as soon as this month or early next month.

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