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The Dalai Lama in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
© dpa - International
The Dalai Lama ends German tour, calls for non-violence

May 20, 2008

The Dalai Lama ended a five-day visit to Germany on Monday, May 19, by saying Tibet should remain part of China, but Beijing should allow Tibetans to enjoy greater cultural and religious autonomy. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader told a rally of 25,000 people at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate that conflicts should be tackled through dialogue.

"The 20th century was the century of bloodshed. I say the 21st century should be one of dialogue," he told supporters gathered at Brandenburg Gate.

"Deep in our minds should be the interest of others. That is very, very important. In that way we can genuinely build a peaceful world."

"I see many Tibetan flags here. I want to make clear that is not to be considered something against China. This is not a separatist movement.

"We respect and support the five-star red flag," he said, referring to the Chinese standard.

Offering his condolences to the victims of last week's massive earthquake in southwest China, which has left more than 71,000 people dead, missing or trapped at the latest count, he said: "Let us pray and sing and express our condolences to the Chinese people.

"Let us share this sadness of thousands and thousands of Chinese who suffer due to the earthquake."

Earlier in the day, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader held talks with German Development Aid Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul and met the foreign affairs committee of parliament.

Earlier in May, China resumed talks with Tibetan envoys. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, May 19, welcomed the Beijing-Tibet talks and said unhappiness over the Dalai Lama's reception here should not set back the process.

"The Chancellor expressly welcomes the resumption of dialogue," government spokesman Thomas Steg said.

"We do not believe that today's meeting will have a negative impact on the dialogue forming between China and the Dalai Lama's representatives on developments in Tibet and perhaps also in neighbouring regions."

The Tibetan Buddhist leader will next visit Britain, Australia, the USA and France in a tour leading up to China's hosting of the Olympics.

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by Sakshi Arora
© German Information Centre New Delhi
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