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5august20091His Holiness the Dalai Lama embarked on a one-week trip to Switzerland Monday to deliver some serious lectures on Buddhism. This is his 21st visit to the country, and on this trip he will be addressing an estimated audience of 12,000 followers in the French-speaking city of Lausanne.

During this visit, the 74-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate repeated his entreaty for world peace and mutual understanding. "We need a real effort to promote religious harmony, for that genuine harmony, based on mutual respect and mutual understanding," he emphasized.

According to a Swiss informational report published on 4 August, His Holiness said he was not disappointed at the fact that he was not received in an audience with Swiss government officials. The report read, "Switzerland has not recognized the Tibetans’ Indian-based government-in-exile, although on in previous cases, His Holiness the Dalai Lama had been welcomed by ministers from Switzerland’s seven-member executive cabinet.”

"This visit is not about politics,” His Holiness clarified, but nevertheless the subject of a free Tibet and other contentious issues arose. "The very cause of this problem, the Tibetan issue is this: I usually describe a new guest without proper invitation, came to Tibet by force, so that last 60 years, they were never concerned about the Tibetans' feelings."  

After the talk, a Swiss journalist asked the Dalai Lama, “Don't you think that Westerners only move to defend other people based on their own economic interest?” adding that, “Unfortunately we (the Swiss) have huge economic interest invested in China, so how can we solve this dilemma?” His Holiness responded, "Look at Palestine, the Palestinian issue. Since 1948, this problem still remains. These problems are not easy to solve. In the Chinese case, the People's Republic of China is the most populated nation and a very important nation, now in recent decades it is also very economically important. Therefore people are very concerned about their good relations with China, it's understandable. I think maybe the Swiss government also was very much concerned about their relations with China, that's understandable, everywhere is like that. But in spite of that, I think the voice of those concerned about Tibet in many parts of the world is quite strong. Look at the European Parliament, some resolutions passed about Tibet issue. In the USA, both houses passed some resolutions, and in many other democratic countries, parliamentary groups are for Tibet. These are quite significant."

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