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French President To Meet with Dalai Lama in December


French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he will meet with the Dalai Lama next month during a visit to Poland.

Mr. Sarkozy Thursday said Tibetans have the right to freedom, not suppression -- an open criticism of China's policy toward the region.

The meeting is highly anticipated after some critics accused Mr. Sarkozy of snubbing the Dalai Lama in August, during the Tibetan leader's visit to France.

Mr. Sarkozy and the Tibetan spiritual leader will be in Warsaw December sixth to mark the 25th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize given to Poland's former president Lech Walesa.

China considers any high level talks with the Dalai Lama tantamount to interfering with its internal affairs. China's government has accused the Dalai Lama trying to seek independence for Tibet.

China says Tibet has been part of its territory for centuries, but many Tibetans disagree.

China took control of Tibet shortly after the Communists took power there in 1949. The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959, after a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese communist rule.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP

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