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Home > India > News > PTI > Report

British PM won't receive Dalai Lama at home

May 12, 2008 12:40 IST

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will not receive the Dalai Lama [Images] at 10 Downing Street, a move seen by many as an effort to appease China, which has accused the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader of masterminding anti-Beijing protest in Lhasa.

Brown will, instead, meet the Dalai Lama in Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury. This will enable the prime minister to claim to the Chinese that he is receiving the exiled leader in spiritual rather than political capacity,
The Times, London [Images], said today.

'As he said in Parliament, the prime minister intends to see the Dalai Lama. What is important is that they are
meeting and will have a substantive conversation. It is also significant that the Chinese are engaging directly with
representatives of the Dalai Lama,' a spokesman at 10 Downing Street was quoted as saying by the London daily.

Brown told Parliament in March that he would meet the exiled leader when he visits Britain, angering China which
accuses the India-based Buddhist monk of inspiring
anti-Beijing protests in Tibet.

With regard to the meeting in Lambeth Palace instead of at Downing Street, the spokesman said: 'He is a spiritual
representative and it makes sense for the prime minister to meet with him.' A number of other spiritual leaders are
expected to be present at the meeting on May 23. The 72-year-old's 11-day visit to Britain begins on May 20.

Brown's decision has dismayed supporters of the Dalai Lama and has been criticised by British political leaders.

Sources close to British Opposition leader David Cameron said that the move was typical of Brown. 'He seems completely incapable of making a decision and sticking to it,' a source was quoted as saying by The Times.

'There is no reason why he should not see the Dalai Lama at No 10, and the suspicion must be that he is responding to the Chinese government,' said Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Liberal Democrat leader.

Brown's predecessors Tony Blair [Images] and John Major held meetings with the Dalai Lama in Downing Street. In the face of stiff Chinese opposition, US President George Bush [Images] received him at the White House and presented him with the Congressional Gold Medal.

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