“Dalai Lama still welcome”
11 May 2007
BRUSSELS – Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht wanted to make it clear on Thursday that the Dalai Lama is welcome to visit the country. . The minister pointed out that his visa for Belgium is still valid.
The spiritual leader decided recently not to attend a meeting of Tibetan Support Groups in Brussels because he does not want to strain relations between Belgium and China. Prince Filip is due to visit China next week.
The Chinese embassy was informed on 5 April of the planned visit and gave “a negative response immediately.” Nonetheless the Dalai Lama was issued a visa by the Belgian embassy in New Delhi on 15 April. “That visa is still valid,” Foreign Affairs says.
“It was entirely the Dalai Lama’s own decision to call off the visit. It has always been the Dalai Lama’s principle to avoid having any negative influence on the bilateral foreign relations between friendly countries,” the Foreign Affairs ministry says.
Three Walloon MPs from the Ecolo party have in the meantime submitted a proposal to extend an official invitation to the Dalai Lama.
[Copyright Expatica News 2007]
Subject: Belgian news