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Vatican Says Pope Does Not Plan to Meet with Dalai Lama


The Vatican says there are no plans for Pope Benedict to hold an audience with the Dalai Lama when the Tibetan spiritual leader visits Rome next month.

Monday's statement from Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi seems to contradict earlier media reports that the two spiritual figures will meet in December.

Earlier this month, China reacted to news of the meeting by saying it hoped the Vatican will not do anything that would hurt Chinese peoples' feelings.

The Pope met with the Dalai Lama last year in what the Vatican described as a private visit. But Pope Benedict has since begun working to improve relations with Beijing.

China also objected strongly when the Dalai Lama met with U.S., Canadian and German leaders in recent months.

Beijing protests meetings between foreign leaders and the Dalai Lama, whom China accuse of seeking political independence for Tibet. But the exiled spiritual leader says he is only seeking autonomy.
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