Norway’s Second Man Refuses to Meet the Dalai Lama, People React

Photo : Jan Michael Ihl. There is a tension between Norway and China as a result of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese Liu Xiaobo in 2010.

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The Tibetan leader comes to Norway in early May to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his Nobel Peace Prize. Parliamentary President Conservative politician Olemic Thommessen has refused to meet him fearing that it will hurt Norway’s relations with China, writes VG.

The leader of Tibet Committee, Liberal party politician Ketil Kjenseth has called the parliamentary president’s decision “cowardly and obscene”. Also a poll conducted by Norwegian daily VG revealed a broad reaction to Thommessen.

Only one in five believe it is the right of parliamentary president to decline a meeting with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Five out of ten think it is a mistake of Thommessen not to meet the Dalai Lama. SV voters are most critical, while Conservative voters are slightly different – in the latter group three in ten believe that the decision is wrong.

On the other hand, Thommessen argues what he did is for constructing the sour relationship with China.

– Many people in Norway have been involved in the Tibet issue. I think it is very understandable that they find it strange not to accept him. But I still believe it is the right decision, because Norway’s relation with China is in a special situation due to the peace prize in 2010, says Thommessen.

He also refuses the accusation of being coward. He says it would be easier to follow the general international and national perception. 

– But I believe that the most appropriate move in this context is to give a clear signal that we want to improve relations with a superpower that has a key role in discussing global issues, climate change, human rights or democracy, says he.

It is currently unclear whether other representatives of the Norwegian government will meet the Dalai Lama in two weeks. 

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