Russia ready to assist Dalai, China on Tibet

In a major shift, Russia on Thursday said it is ready to assist in the dialogue between China and the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to resolve the vexed Tibet issue.
“If all the parties make attempts to separate purely pastoral contacts from political associations, this would be a solution to the problem. We are ready to assist in this,” foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told the Federation Council, Russia’s Upper House of Parliament.
He said occasional attempts to politicise the Dalai Lama’s role as a spiritual leader do not bring any desired results, including the development of ties between the Dalai Lama and Buddhists in Russia.
“We are carefully following what is happening between the leadership of China and the Dalai Lama and we know that the Chinese leadership is deeply committed to the Dalai Lama dissociating himself from any kind of political activity and separatist tendencies,” Mr Lavrov said.
Representatives of the Dalai Lama and Chinese government have held a number of rounds of talks on the Tibet issue, but no progress has been made so far. So far Moscow, which recognises Tibet as integral part of China, was looking at the dispute between the Dalai Lama and China as Beijing’s “internal matter”.
Russia had in 2004 reluctantly allowed the Dalai Lama into the country to meet his followers.
The Kremlin has been under pressure to allow the visits of the Dalai Lama to meet his followers as Buddhism is one of the officially recognised traditional religions of Russia. There are some 7,00,000 followers of Buddhism in the Russian Federation, mostly in the eastern areas like Buryatia bordering on Mongolia and Republic of Kalmykia in South Russia.
Mr Lavrov said Moscow supports the development of inter-religious and inter-faith ties, but is against aspects of religion that have been distorted into politics.
The state-run RIA Novosti in its comment noted that Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959, has repeatedly said he seeks autonomy for Tibet rather than independence from China. “Millions of Russian Buddhists are looking forward to the Dalai Lama’s visit and a decision should be made on this matter,” Mr Mikhail Kapura, who represents the Republic of Kalmykia in the Federation Council, said.

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2 Moroccans ‘plotted to kill Pope’
Rome : Two Moroccan terrorist suspects deported from Italy in April were allegedly plotting to kill Pope Benedict XVI, Italian weekly Panorama claims in its latest issue to be released on Friday.
Mohammed Hlal and Errahmouni Ahmed were students at the University of Perugia until their repatriation to Morocco on 29 April. “Hlal wanted to kill the Pope, saying he was ready to assassinate him and gain his place in paradise,” Italy’s interior minister wrote in the expulsion order authorising Hlal and Ahmed’s deportations, cited by Panorama.
Anti-terror police in Perugia intercepted Hlal discussing his plans to carry out attacks and readiness to obtain explosives for the attacks during a series of tapped telephone conversations, according to Panorama. Moroccan authorities on May 6 released Hlal and Ahmed, who had been receiving legal assistance from a local human rights association.
By arrangement with AKI

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