Monika Sharma reports from Dharamshala: His Holiness the Dalai Lama successfully concluded his 2-day visit to Brussels with programmes at the European Parliament in the morning and at Belgian House of Representatives and the Senate .
His Holiness was warmly received at the European Parliament by President Dr Hans-Gert Poettering and ushered to President Poettering’s office, where His Holiness signed the distinguished visitor’s book. The two leaders began bilateral talk.
His Holiness also met the leaders of European Parliament’s Political Group. After a brief welcome speech by President Poettering, His Holiness made a short statement on his visit and then the floor was opened for question-answer session.
While appreciating His Holiness’ commitment to resolve problems including the problem of Tibet through non-violence, dialogues and negotiations, the Group Leaders put a range of questions including His Holiness’ view on Simla Convention of 1914 and the British Foreign Secretary’s statement “regarding Tibet as a part of PRC,” the meetings His Holiness’ Envoys had with the Chinese leadership and the outcome from those meetings.
His Holiness explained in clear terms about the Middle Way Approach and also the Chinese government’s baseless accusation against him for instigating the uprising in Tibet from 10 March this year and sabotaging the Olympic Games.
His Holiness said “if it is true what China says everything is fine in Tibet, why Tibetans in Tibet protested against the Chinese government more outside the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region? Why the government of People’s Republic of China is keeping thousands of soldiers in Tibet? Why PRC continue to bar foreign visitors and journalists from entering Tibet?”
His Holiness asked the leaders to go to Tibet and find out the actual prevailing condition in Tibet whether PRC’s accusations hold any truth. Tibetan struggle is the struggle of six million Tibetans and not for a personal gain or restoration of His Holiness’ privileges and status of pre-1959, His Holiness said, adding, “Not a single Tibetan wants to restore the old system.”
EP President Dr Poettering escorted His Holiness to the Hall where His Holiness addressed the Plenary Session of the European Parliament preceded by a brief warm welcome speech by President Dr Poettering.
The text of His Holiness speech was distributed to the MEPs and His Holiness gave an extempore speech explaining His Holiness’ Three Commitments – Promotion of Human Value; Promotion of Religious Harmony among the different religious traditions and explaining the Issue of Tibet.
On behalf of the European Parliament, President Poettering thanked His Holiness for His Holiness’ invaluable speech and referred to His Holiness as “A Champion of Dialogue”. “The European Parliament is also an institute of Dialogue,” he added.
Following this, His Holiness and President Poettering jointly addressed a press conference at the EU Press Centre with a brief question-answer session at the end.
In the afternoon His Holiness was welcomed by Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President of Belgian House of Representatives and Mr Armand De Decker, President of the Senate and a meeting between His Holiness, the Presidents, political group leaders as well as chairpersons of the committees took place at the Presidency.
Later His Holiness addressed the Deputies and Senators focusing on compassion and how one can have peace of mind. The floor opened for question-answer session and questions were from Tibet’s environmental condition and its effect on global warming, how Parliamentarians can help to achieve a meaningful autonomy for Tibet and so on.
His Holiness gave befitting answer to all and the Parliamentarians expressed their appreciation of His Holiness. Mr. Didier Reynders, Vice-Premier Minister and Minister of Finance of the Federal Government were also present during the visit of His Holiness at the Belgian Parliament.