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Mexican officials won't meet Dalai Lama: Tibetan group

12 october 2013, 10:51
0
Mexico leader Enrique Pena Nieto has no plans to meet the Dalai Lama when the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader begins a tour of the country on Friday, AFP reports.

It is the first time in four visits that no representative of Mexico's government will meet with the Dalai Lama as the country aims to boost ties with China.

"The President of Mexico (Enrique Pena Nieto) does not intend to meet the Dalai Lama, and we have not requested a meeting," Casa Tibet Mexico founder and president Marco Antonio Karam told AFP.

"We do not feel that the environment is favorable for this and we do not want to create political controversy that would hurt the visit."

Karam's group represents the Tibetan people in Latin America.

He said no government official had requested to meet with the Dalai Lama.

During his first visit to Mexico in 1989, the Tibetan spiritual leader, accused by China of encouraging separatism, was received by then president Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

When he returned in 2004, he met with a senior immigration official, while in September 2011, he had a private meeting with then president Felipe Calderon.

The Calderon meeting triggered discomfort in Beijing, and contributed to the relationship between Mexico and China becoming "the most tense in the past 40 years," with the crisis exacerbated by the large Mexican trade diplomats, said Enrique Dussel Peters of the Center for Chinese-Mexican Studies at the Autonomous University of Mexico.

But this time, the Dalai Lama will find a Mexico that has taken a "quantum leap" in its ties with the Asian giant, Dussel added.

Pena Nieto has already met Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping three times this year.

During Xi's Mexico visit in June, Pena Nieto's government reiterated its support for Beijing's "One China" policy, recognizing Taiwan and Tibet as part of China's territory.

The spiritual leader plans to give Buddhist teachings at an entertainment center over the weekend.

Mexican Catholic Church authorities will host him on Saturday and on Monday, he will give a free lecture for students.

On Tuesday, he will travel to the central sate of Guanajuato to meet with former president Vicente Fox and give a lecture on "compassion in action."

The Dalai Lama will head to neighboring Zacatecas to talk about the "art of happiness" and make a prayer for peace on Wednesday.

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