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Tom Brake

Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington

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Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama deserves audience with Blair

January 19, 2004 12:00 AM

In response to recent reports that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been unable to secure an audience with the Prime Minister during His Holiness' forthcoming visit to Britain from 27 May to 3 June 2004, Liberal Democrat International Development Spokesman Tom Brake MP has tabled a cross-party parliamentary motion urging the Prime Minister to make room in his diary for a meeting with the Dalai Lama.

Mr Brake said,

"I dearly hope that the Prime Minister will correct the oversight of failing to schedule a meeting with the Dalai Lama. His Holiness brings an important message about encouraging the dialogue between the Chinese and Tibetan governments over the Tibet issue. Furthermore, His Holiness' s distinctive message of non-violence could have a profound influence on how Blair deals with the war on terrorism."

The Prime Minister has been criticised by the Tibet Society for "snubbing" the Dalai Lama. The society said Blair's refusal to meet him also undermined British ministers' call to the Chinese government to negotiate with the Dalai Lama.

Text of parliamentary early day motion (EDM) follows:

Dalai Lama and the Prime Minister - 15th January 2004

Tom Brake :

That this House welcomes the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Britain from 27th May to 3rd June; notes that this will be his first visit to Britain in five years; further notes that, during his visit, His Holiness intends to promote resolution of the Tibet issue by encouraging dialogue between the Chinese Government and the Tibetan Government-in-exile; recalls how his efforts as a champion of world peace were recognised with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989; commends His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his steadfast commitment to peaceful means in the struggle for Tibetan independence; notes his distinctive message of non-violence; regrets that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been unable to secure an audience with the Prime Minister; calls on the Prime Minister to schedule an engagement with His Holiness; and, in the event of this not being possible, calls on the Prime Minister to make a public statement of support for the furtherance of dialogue between the Chinese Government and the Tibetan Government-in-exile as being the best way to resolve this long standing issue and acknowledge the patience and peaceful means that the Dalai Lama has followed over many years.