Dalai Lama named freeman of Paris

Other News Materials 22 April 2008 00:09 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - The Socialist-dominated Paris council has named the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, a freeman of the city, France Info channel reported Monday.

The move comes against the background of tensions between China and France over protests during the Olympic torch relay through the French capital when city hall displayed a banner reading " Paris defends human rights everywhere in the world."

Paris' Socialists and Greens voted to honour the Dalai Lama, while the Conservatives did not take part in the vote.

The proposal by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe has caused a furore as President Nicolas Sarkozy attempts to mend ties between Paris and Beijing.

Delanoe said he wanted to honour a "man of dialogue and peace."

He said he also wanted to meet the Chinese ambassador to France.

Paris has named five freemen since 2001, including French- Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt who has been held hostage by Colombian rebels for many years.