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french-delegation-tibet-2013-may-10Dharamshala: - A multi party parliamentary delegation from France expressed their solidarity with the Tibetan people during a press conference held here in Dharamshala, India on May 10.

The four member delegation led by Jean Francois Humbert, who is the President of the Parliamentary group for Tibet in the French National Assembly, met with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in exile Mr Penpa Tsering, senior officials of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and other Tibetan institutions.

Mr Jean Francois Humbert, Mr Andre Gattolin, Mr Michele Berson and Mr Bernard Fournier arrived on May 8, and will be visiting till May 14.

Mr Jean Francois Humbert, who has been associated with the Tibetan cause for a long time, is on his third visit to Dharamshala. He said that he and fellow members of the French Parliament have a "common goal" to support Tibetans and that he hoped such visits would foster "better relations between the two governments". He further stated that this "was a complimentary visit, on top of all the work that is done in the French Senate"

He also pointed out that a conference on Tibetan history had recently been held in the French Senate and also that he hoped to organise one on Tibetan culture soon.

Mr Francois Humbert also invited Tibetan leaders to visit France, stating that it had been a privilege to host the Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, recently.
He also stressed that "it would be great, if the international community further recognised the non violent struggle by Tibetans".

Mr Andre Gattolin, a member of the ruling Socialist party said that all parliaments have "a duty to tell the truth about the situation in Tibet" and that it "was urgent to change the way, countries talked to China".

He cited a recent opinion poll conducted in France, which concluded that more than 80 percent of French citizens believed that President Francois Hollande should have discussed the Tibet issue with Chinese leader Xi Jingping, in his recent visit to Beijing. He also spoke of the popularity of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in his country.

Mr Gattolin concluded by expressing his hope that all European Parliaments "would work together to put pressure on China", stating that he believed the solution to the Tibet issue should be "global and international' in nature.

Mr Berson said that he admired how the Tibetans "wanted to affirm their identity" and called the situation in Tibet, a "cultural genocide". He added that "not enough international attention was being given to the Human Rights situation in Tibet".

Mr Fournier spoke of the importance that France attaches to the "Freedom of Human Beings". He said that they had followed the situation in Tibet, "sometimes with emotion, sometimes with solidarity and sometimes, with friendship".

Mr Francois Humbert further stated that an imminent step that was being considered by the French Senate was to request the Chinese government to allow a French delegation to visit Tibet, although he expected a negative reaction. He concluded by reaffirming that this would not be the last French delegation to visit Dharamshala and with a message to the Tibetan people, that they will always have French support.

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