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Dalai issue should not hurt Sino-EU ties
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The Czech Republic, which holds the rotating European Union (EU) presidency, hopes the Dalai Lama issue will not disrupt Sino-EU relations in the near future, its ambassador to Beijing said yesterday.

"We understand that this (the Dalai Lama issue) is an extremely sensitive matter ... so in our acts during the presidency we shall act according to these feelings," Vitezslav Grepl said at a news conference.

He said he did not expect his government's leaders to meet the Dalai Lama in the Czech Republic while it holds the EU presidency.

The Dalai Lama, however, visited the Czech Republic last month. But Grepl said: "I don't think the Dalai Lama would visit the same country twice in such a short time."

Ties between China and the EU suffered a setback at the end of last year after French President Nicolas Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama while France held the union's presidency, forcing Beijing to pull out of a meeting with the EU.

As the leader of the EU, the Czech Republic will be "more cautious" in dealing with the Dalai Lama, a Chinese analyst said.

But the Czech Republic's policy toward the Dalai Lama remains unchanged, said Professor Feng Zhongping, director of European studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

"More efforts have to be made to deal with such problems (as the Dalai Lama issue) between the two countries," he said.

(China Daily January 16, 2009)

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