Dalai Lama says his Britain visit ‘non-political’

May 21st, 2008 - 9:10 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown
London, May 21 (DPA) The Dalai Lama, exiled Tibetan leader, sought to calm controversy over his current visit to Britain Wednesday by saying that his trip was “non-political.” “Basically my visit is non-political. The media politicizes,” the 72-year-old spiritual leader told a news conference in London.

He was referring to widespread criticism over a decision by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to meet the religious leader at a venue outside Downing Street, the seat of the British government.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed Wednesday that Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, would receive the Dalai Lama for private talks at his London residence, Clarence House, Thursday.

The two men, who have met before in 1991, 2001 and 2004, would plant a tree in the garden of Clarence House to commemorate the current visit.

The Dalai Lama said he would use his meeting with Brown Friday to thank him for the “genuine concern” the British leader had shown for Tibet.

“Of course, during our meeting I will express my appreciation that the prime minister is showing genuine concern for Tibet - so I want to express my thanks,” said the Dalai Lama.

Although Brown is the first major Western leader to meet the Dalai Lama since the recent unrest in Tibet, he has chosen to do so at the Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and not the seat of government.

Brown’s spokesman stressed Wednesday that the substance of the meeting, and the fact that it would take place at all, was more important than where it was being held.

British government sources have said that human rights issues would be raised in the talks.

Earlier Wednesday, the Dalai Lama held talks with parliamentarians from all main parties at the Houses of Parliament.

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