Dalai Lama reiterates call for greater autonomy for Tibet

May 16th, 2008 - 7:33 pm ICT by admin  

Bochum (Germany), May 16 (DPA) The Dalai Lama repeated his desire Friday for reconciliation with China and insisted he does not want independence for his homeland Tibet. “We are not looking for independence,” the Tibetan spiritual leader said on the second day of his visit to Germany. All he wanted for Tibet was more autonomy within China, he said.

The Dalai Lama said he hoped for concrete results from the talks between his representatives and the Chinese government held in the aftermath of the Tibet freedom demonstrations in March.

Change was more important than pledges, he said in reference to the meetings in the Chinese city of Shenzen.

“There are polite words and there are actions,” said the 72-year- old, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his efforts to achieve a non-violent solution to the Tibetan problem.

At the same time he underscored his desire for reconciliation with Beijing, which accuses him of carrying out anti-Chinese and separatist activities under the guise of religion.

“We are brothers and sisters. We have to live side by side,” he said.

The Dalai Lama met regional leaders at the start of his first visit to Germany since the outbreak of unrest in his homeland two months ago.

During his five-day stay, he is to deliver a series of lectures and meet Economic Assistance Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul and legislators at the German parliament.

He is also scheduled to address a rally at Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate.

The run-up to the visit was marked by a domestic row because no one in the German cabinet was initially prepared to meet him, apparently fearing it could upset China.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is in Latin America and her deputy, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, turned down an official request for a meeting because he does not have time. President Horst Koehler also declined to meet the Dalai Lama.

Merkel met the Dalai Lama at the federal chancellery last September, a move which led to a chill in relations between Berlin and Beijing that ended only in January after intense German diplomatic efforts.

Chinese communist forces invaded Tibet in 1950. Since 1959, when the Tibetan resistance movement collapsed, the Dalai Lama has lived in India, where the Tibetan government-in-exile is based.

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