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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008, 16:24 GMT
Brown planning to meet Dalai Lama
Gordon Brown
Mr Brown has come under pressure to hold a meeting
Gordon Brown has said he will meet Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama when he visits the UK.

The prime minister has faced pressure from opponents to make the commitment after recent protests in Tibet.

During prime minister's questions, he also said he had spoken to Chinese premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday morning and had urged an end to violence.

Tory leader David Cameron congratulated Mr Brown on reaching the "right decision" on the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama has called for an end to the violence in Tibet and rejected accusations by China that he was responsible for the recent unrest.

'Absolutely clear'

China says 13 people were killed by rioters in Lhasa. Tibetan exiles say 99 have died in clashes with authorities.

Mr Cameron said: "The whole world will have been shocked by pictures on television last night of the security crackdown and the dead bodies on the streets of Lhasa and other parts of Tibet.

He must listen very carefully to what the Dalai Lama has to say about the violent situation in Tibet
Matt Whitticase
Free Tibet movement

"Do you agree with me that, yes, our relationship with China is vital, yes, China is a major power, but we must be absolutely clear in telling the Chinese government that this is completely unacceptable."

Mr Brown replied: "I spoke to Premier Wen this morning and I made it absolutely clear that there had to be an end to violence in Tibet.

"The premier told me that subject to two things that the Dalai Lama has already said - that he does not support the total independence of Tibet and that he renounces violence - that he would be prepared to enter into dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

"I will meet the Dalai Lama when he is in London.

"I think it is important we all facilitate discussions. But the most important thing at the moment is to bring about an end to the violence, reconciliation and to see legitimate talks taking place between those people in China."

'Difficult decision'

Mr Cameron said: "Can I congratulate you on making absolutely the right decision with regard to the Dalai Lama.

"It is a difficult decision but it wouldn't have been made any better by delaying it and I congratulate you for doing the right thing."

Mr Brown responded: "We make the right decisions at all times."

Mr Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg have said they want to meet the Dalai Lama when he comes to the UK in May.

Mr Brown has previously appeared reluctant to say whether he would do the same, apparently due to concerns that it would antagonise the Chinese.

The Tibetan protests began on 10 March - the anniversary of the 1959 uprising against Chinese rule - and have gradually escalated.

They come ahead of the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer.



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