China critical of Dalai Lama, French officials meeting (Lead)

August 20th, 2008 - 8:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 20 (DPA) Beijing’s foreign ministry Wednesday sharply criticized plans by French government ministers to meet the Dalai Lama.Ministry spokesman Qin Gang demanded more “consideration” for the Sino-French bilateral ties.

“We hope the French side respects China’s concerns and will deal carefully with the important and sensitive issues,” Quin said in Beijing.

French Human Rights Minister Rama Yade announced plans to meet the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, who is currently on a 12-day visit to France, Friday.

President Nicolas Sarkozy declined to meet the Dalai Lama, but the monk is expected to meet with first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

Foreign Minister Bernhard Kouchner, who was also scheduled to meet the Buddhist leader Wednesday, cancelled the meeting because of the events in Georgia, news reports said.

Ahead of the Dalai Lama’s trip, China had threatened Paris with consequences if a meeting with the French government were to take place.

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