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Sad not meeting the Pope: Dalai Lama

DHARAMSHALA, December 12:The Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that he would have been “happy” to meet Pope Francis who has come under criticism for snubbing the Tibetan leader for fear of angering Beijing.

The Tibetan leader also said in Rome, “This time I won’t meet Pope Francis.” He said he would have been “very happy” to do so.

In picture; His Holiness the Dalai Lama, moderator Yalda Hakim, Nobel Peace Laureates Jose Ramos Horta from East Timor and Tawakkol Karman from Yemen, and ILO representative Morten Hovda during the second panel discussion of the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome, Italy on December 12, 2014. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL

“I feel a little sad,” His Holiness told RAI TV in an interview, “because I have paid my respects to several other new Popes and I have been eager to meet him. But for now it’s inconvenient, which is understandable. I don’t want to make things more inconvenient. We share an interest in moral values, religious harmony, peace and the relief of the poor. I admire him – that’s all.”

The Dalai Lama said, “The whole world knows I’m not seeking independence for Tibet. We are asking the Chinese government to implement certain rights already mentioned in their constitution. We have a right to preserve our rich Buddhist culture and our language, while protecting our environment.”

The Vatican has said that the Pope Francis will not meet the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama who is in Rome for the summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners starting Friday.

“Pope Francis obviously holds the Dalai Lama in very high regard but he will not be meeting any of the Nobel laureates,” a spokesman said. Instead the South American pontiff will send a video message to the conference of Nobel Peace Prize winners.

The Vatican administration says it’s “not possible because it could cause inconveniences.”

The Vatican is trying to improve its fraught relations with China where it is estimated that 12 million Catholics, including the government approved catholics and underground catholics, live.

Meanwhile, there are angry responses from Tibetans and supporters of the Tibetan leader on various social networking sites.

“Most unfortunate No matter what the reasons,” wrote one user. “Shows the pope’s sense of morality and inclusiveness does not extend very far. At core he is after all a creature of public opinion,” commented another.

Phayul,december 13, 2014