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French Foreign Minister will meet the Dalai Lama: French media
Phayul[Thursday, August 14, 2008 23:34]
By Tenam

Paris, August 14 - Day after the announcement by former presidential candidate Segolene Royal's decision to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama, French media reports that foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, will also meet the Dalai Lama.

“Bernard Kouchner has expressed a desire to meet him. He called us yesterday (Wednesday) evening. There will be a meeting,” Matthieu Ricard, was quoted by Le Monde, a French daily.

The Socialist Mayor of city of Nantes, where His Holiness will be teaching starting 15 August, together with Segolene Royal will meet the Dalai Lama. The Mayor also said that he will raise the Tibetan National flag on the city hall for the duration.

Questioned further on the request made by the Secretary of State for Human Rights, Rama Yade, to meet the Dalai Lama, Mr. Ricard said “To my knowledge, this is not planned for now," added Le Monde.

“I would be very happy to meet the Nobel peace prize laureate,” the junior minister told French radio RTL. “Contacts are under way between my cabinet and the office of the Dalai Lama's representative to find the best moment,” Yade told RTL.

China on Thursday called on France to carefully handle the “sensitive” issue of Tibet.

“China's position on the Tibetan issue is consistent and clear,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, and “we hope that France will pay attention to China's concerns (and) carefully handle the related important and sensitive issue,” it said.

“(France should) make efforts with China to avoid any disturbances that could arise and ensure the healthy and stable development of Sino-French relations.”

Many in France have questioned their government's unclear stand vis-a-vis Tibet and China. French President and the government recently made many contradictory statements regarding the Tibetan issue.

The Tibet Group at the French Parliament met with His Holiness on Wednesday and released a summary of the meeting. The Dalai Lama expressed his concerns over “arbitrary arrests, summary executions and torture to the death” and a “very strong reinforcement of the military and police presence” in Tibet and concluded that Tibetans are facing a second wave of “cultural revolution”.

His Holiness also informed them about a plan by Beijing to move in millions of Chinese into Tibet after the Olympics.

The Dalai Lama also told them that he has constantly sought a hand of friendship to the Chinese people but nobody is seizing the moment, so he was forced to seek others to support the Tibetans in their struggle for justice.

Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) first met His Holiness in 1989 in France when he was a lower ministerial cabinet in charge of humanitarian action.

His Holiness will be in France till 23 August.
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