Lithuania's leaders don't plan to meet with Dalai Lama, but some MPs do
Members of the Lithuanian parliament's Provisional Group for Solidarity with Tibetans intend to meet with the Dalai Lama during his visit to Lithuania in June, but the country's top officials do not plan to do so.
"No doubt, our group has such plans. The talk now is about which higher education school could become the venue for our meeting with the Dalai Lama," Arūnas Gelūnas, vice-chairman of the six-member parliamentary group, told BNS.
The Tibetan spiritual leader is scheduled to visit Lithuania on June 13 to 14.
Gelūnas was cautious about the possibility of the lawmakers meeting with the Dalai Lama in the parliament building.
Such a step would most probably anger China as the Seimas is a state institution.
"That would be a very strong step, given the realities and the overall global instability, but this is an issue to be considered," Gelūnas said.
"I'm not ruling out the possibility. I'm not saying that this is unrealistic and that we won't do so," he added.
It will be the Dalai Lama's fourth visit to Lithuania. President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with the Tibetan leader during his latest visit back in 2013, thus angering China.
The president's office says that Grybauskaitė this time does not plan to meet with the Dalai Lama.
"On June 13-15, the president will host King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, who will pay a state visit to Lithuania. No other meetings are scheduled (for the days)," the president's press office told BNS.
Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, and Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius do not plan to meet with the Tibetan leader either, the officials' spokespersons told BNS.
Tibet lost its autonomy from China back in 1951 after the Chinese army invaded the territory that had declared independence.
China does not recognize the Tibetan government-in-exile and maintains no dialog with the Dalai Lama's representatives.