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Australian PM Meets Dalai Lama

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has met Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, despite China's objections.

Mr. Howard did not provide details of their conversation when he spoke to reporters Friday following the meeting.

On Thursday, the Dalai Lama had an unplanned conversation with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who New Zealand officials say he met by chance at an airport in Australia. He also met with Australia's opposition leader Kevin Rudd earlier in the week.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner's 11-day visit to Australia has drawn criticism from Beijing, which regards the 71-year-old Buddhist leader as a separatist.

Australia says the Dalai Lama is a significant religious figure who is welcome to visit Australia any time.

The exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhism says his tour of Australia is meant to promote human values and religious harmony.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after Chinese troops suppressed an uprising. He lives in exile in India.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.