France To Welcome Dalai Lama Under Shadow Of China Row

From AFP:

The Dalai Lama kicks off Tuesday an 11-day visit to that threatened to spark a crisis between Paris and Beijing, until President Nicolas Sarkozy quashed speculation he would meet the Tibetan spiritual leader.

Planned more than two years ago, the Nobel peace laureate’s French visit turned suddenly political after a Chinese crackdown on unrest in Tibet in March that sparked international outrage in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

Sarkozy’s initial threat to boycott the Olympic opening ceremony, together with rowdy pro- during the passage of the Olympic flame through Paris, fuelled a months-long diplomatic spat with Beijing.

And a decision by the opposition-held Paris city hall to name the 73-year-old spiritual guide an honorary citizen further fanned tensions.

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