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Europe

France Rejects Chinese Pressure Over Dalai Lama

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday, July 10, reacted defiantly to Chinese threats of reprisals if he met with the Dalai Lama.

Sarkozy embraces Chinese President Hu Jintao

A meeting with the Dalai Lama could drive a wedge between Franco-Sino relations

"China neither sets my agenda nor makes my appointments for me," Sarkozy told lawmakers at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The Chinese ambassador to Paris had warned earlier this week that there would be "grave consequences" if Sarkozy met with the Dalai Lama during his visit to France in mid-August.

A Chinese diplomat told the daily Le Figaro that this could mean cancelling Chinese orders for 56 high-speed TGV trains and more than 100 Airbus aircaft.

However, Sarkozy did not on Thursday expressly say that he would hold a meeting with the Dalai Lama.

On Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had summoned the ambassador to the ministry to tell him that the French government refused to cede to any pressure, "no matter where it comes from."

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