Brown will see the Dalai Lama - but not in Downing Street
Prime Minister Gordon Brown will meet the Dalai Lama at the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury - rather than at Downing Street - when the Tibetan spiritual leader visits Britain next week, the government confirmed Monday.
However, a spokesman for Brown dismissed suggestions that the choice of location for the talks - away from the prime minister's office - had anything to do with "appeasing" the Chinese government, reported dpa .
The decision was to underline that the Dalai Lama was being received by Brown in his role as a "spiritual leader."
The spokesman said that Lambeth Palace, the London residence of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, was chosen to reflect that the Dalai Lama was a "respected spiritual leader."
"I think the important point is that the Prime Minister is meeting the Dalai Lama," said the spokesman. "Quite where he meets him is not really going to add anything of great substance to the fact of the meeting."
The opposition Conservative Party, Liberal leaders and the Free Tibet Campaign have all called on Brown to reconsider his decision and to receive the Dalai Lama at Downing Street.
Brown announced at the height of the recent Chinese clampdown in Tibet that he would meet the Dalai Lama.
"No doubt there will be an opportunity to discuss the recent developments and the recent situation in Tibet, as you would expect, but just so we are clear, he is meeting him as a spiritual leader," said Brown's spokesman.
The Dalai Lama is due in Britain for an 11-day tour at the end of next week, after a visit to Germany, where a debate is raging over his reception at government level.