PM's Meeting with Dalai Lama to Address Spiritual, Not Political, Issues

April 15, 2004

Source: Globe and Mail

On April 15, 2004 the Globe and Mail reported, "Paul Martin yesterday got his wish for face time with the Dalai Lama in a 'spiritual frame.' The organizers of the exiled Tibetan leader's visit to Ottawa agreed to have him meet the Prime Minister at the residence of the capital's Roman Catholic Archbishop. Mr. Martin and the Dalai Lama will be brought together with a group of Ottawa religious leaders who have been getting together every three or four months since Sept. 11, 2001. The meeting next Friday will be private -- without media -- and will last a maximum of one hour, beginning at 5 p.m. Mario Lague, the Prime Minister's spokesman, said the nature of the meeting should help to assuage Chinese concerns. 'I think that by having other religious leaders at this interfaith event, it will help focus on spiritual and humanitarian subjects,' he said. 'That sends a pretty clear message...It shouldn't become a political discussion.'The Chinese government labels the Dalai Lama a separatist -- or splittist -- and objects to foreign government leaders meeting with him. In a statement this week, the Chinese embassy compared him to sovereigntist leaders in Quebec."