• Germany's news in English

Merkel ready to meet Dalai Lama again

AFP · 12 Apr 2008, 16:07

Published: 12 Apr 2008 16:07 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"I believe that if I've already met him once, I will do so again," she told a press conference in Oslo, Norway.

She said she would be unable to meet Tibet's exiled spiritual leader during his forthcoming visit to Germany next month because she would be away in Latin America.

Merkel, who met Tibet's spiritual leader in exile last September, will be in Latin America during his next visit to Germany May 16-20 when he will meet parliamentary speaker Norbert Lammert.

"But I will most certainly meet the Dalai Lama at a later date," she told the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine in an article released in advance.

"My receiving the Dalai Lama and my dealings with China are two entirely separate things," she was quoted as saying.

"But both are related to how we deal with whether or not human rights are being observed or disregarded, and Germany's position is clear, and receiving the Dalai Lama also belongs to that," Merkel added.

Her last meeting with the Dalai Lama precipitated a crisis in relations with China. It was only in January during a visit here by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi that his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier could speak of a return to normality.

Merkel has also clearly rejected a boycott of the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, saying this would only penalise the participants. Her spokesman said she would not attend the opening ceremonies in August, but stressed that this had never been planned.

Last month Merkel called for peaceful and direct dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama over the current unrest in Tibet.

"A lasting solution to the Tibet question can perhaps only be found through a peaceful and direct dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama," said her spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm.

It was "important that demonstrators, like the police forces, be urged to show moderation and the rights of each be taken into consideration."

Story continues below…

Germany backed the Tibetans' rights to religious and cultural autonomy," while "supporting the policy of a single China."

Merkel faced intense criticism from her Christian Democrats' partners in the ruling coalition, the Social Democrats, for her decision to receive the Dalai Lama last September.

Both her predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, and Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, said the meeting was a mistake and may have damaged Germany's interests.

Merkel remained unapologetic. "Human rights policy and representing our economic interests all over the world are for us two sides of the same coin," she said in January.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd