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Harper First Canadian PM to Formally Greet Dalai Lama


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has met with the Dalai Lama in defiance of China's warnings against hosting the exiled Tibetan leader.

The two met Monday in Mr. Harper's office in Ottawa. The session marked the first formal talks to be held between the Dalai Lama and a Canadian prime minister.

Jason Kenney, Canada's Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, said he hopes the entire world gets the message that attacking a 72-year-old pacifist Buddhist monk who advocates nothing more than cultural autonomy for his people is counterproductive.

China has warned the talks could hurt relations between Ottawa and Beijing. The Chinese government made similar threats when U.S. President George Bush and leaders of Congress honored the Dalai Lama earlier this month.

China has consistently challenged attempts by the Dalai Lama to meet with world leaders, accusing him of secretly promoting separatism. The Dalai Lama, who favors talks with Beijing on possible autonomous status for Tibet, denies the charge.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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