European parliament president backs EU talks with Dalai Lama
(dpa) - The president of European parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering, supported calls Wednesday for a meeting of EU foreign ministers with the Dalai Lama.
Poettering told the Financial Times Deutschland that he would like to see the meeting take place in the near future.
On Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he expected the EU to issue an invitation soon to the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to come to Brussels.
Poettering had invited the Dalai Lama to visit the European Parliament before the current unrest broke out in Tibet. The visit is planned for December.
"Given the current state of affairs, the Dalai Lama is welcome anytime, even before December," Poettering said.
China criticized the EU on Monday for suggesting that the Chinese government should hold talks with the Dalai Lama in a bid to defuse the unrest in Tibet.
Poettering, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), accused China of defaming the Dalai Lama by spreading untruths.
"Beijing is demonizing the Dalai Lama and turning the Tibetans into aggressors even though they are the victims of repression," the parliament president said.
On Tuesday, Chinese officials accused Tibetans of planning suicide attacks and acts of sabotage.