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8thaugust2011kalontripa10001Dharamshala: During the spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's upcoming visit to Finland, which will take place from 18-21 August, one Finnish minister is likely to meet with His Holiness. According to the Helsingin Sanomat, Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala reported her planned meeting to another Finnish news source in late July.

It is thought that Member of Parliament Pekka Haavisto, the Green League's presidential candidate, may also meet with His Holiness.

Erkki Tuomioja, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, will be away during His Holiness' visit. Tuomioja has denied that Finland has a policy about meetings with His Holiness. "After all, it is a private occasion of a spiritual kind," he told the press.

Historically, foreign ministers in Finland have not met often with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. His Holiness has visited Finland five times, and in that time, he met once each with Minister of the Environment Pekka Haavisto and Minister of Culture Claes Andersson.

During His Holiness' latest visit in 2006, no political meetings took place. When Finnish Members of Parliament raised the issue with government ministers, Tuomioja said that Finnish authorities already had enough information on the situation between China and Tibet. MP Ben Zyskowicz countered that a meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama would not be about gathering information, but about sending a political signal.

Tuomioja also claimed that no invitation had been sent; organizers of the event, however, said that serious attempts had been made to arrange a meeting.

China has warned Finland against meeting with His Holiness. Peng Zhengwu, the Head of the Embassy's Political Office, has said that such a meeting would "hurt the bilateral relations between China and Finland. He is not only a spiritual leader."

Tuomioja said that Finland is aware of China's views, but he wouldn't say if China had put pressure on Finland regarding this matter. On meeting with the Dalai Lama, he said that "naturally they find it an unfriendly gesture."

During his upcoming visit to Helsinki, His Holiness will give two teachings on the morning of 20 August based on Geshe Langri Thangpa's Eight Verses of Training the mind (Tib: lojong tsik gyema). In the afternoon of the same day, he will give a public talk on The Power of Compassion.

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