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Dalai Lama always welcome, says Austria’s new envoy to New Delhi

Austrian Ambassador Ms Brigitte Öppinger-Walchshofer visited Raj Ghat the memorial of the founder father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. (Photo courtesy: Austrian Embassy, New Delhi)
Austrian Ambassador Ms Brigitte Öppinger-Walchshofer visited Raj Ghat the memorial of the founder father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. (Photo courtesy: Austrian Embassy, New Delhi)

(TibetanReview.net, Aug29, 2017) – The Dalai Lama is always welcome to visit Austria and China knows the country’s position on this issue, Vienna’s newly appointed New Delhi envoy Ms Brigitte Oeppinger-Walchshofer has said Aug 28.

She said Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader and the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate was “most welcome” in her country, and maintained that the EU had a positive policy towards the octogenarian Tibetan monk, reported thehindu.com Aug 28.

“I don’t think there is a single country in the European Union where he would not be allowed in. The Tibetan spiritual leader is a very revered man and people are fascinated by him in the way that they are with Mahatma Gandhi. Countries do not have to succumb to such pressures [from China],” she was quoted as saying.

Ms Brigitte Öppinger-Walchshofer, Austrian Ambassador to India. (Photo courtesy: Austrian Embassy, New Delhi)
Ms Brigitte Öppinger-Walchshofer, Austrian Ambassador to India. (Photo courtesy: Austrian Embassy, New Delhi)

During his visit to Austria in May 2012, Chancellor Werner Fayman not only met with the Dalai Lama but also dismissed China’s criticisms of it by saying “I answer the question of whom I meet myself”. What is more, he called his meeting “a clear political signal for human rights, non-violence and dialogue and against oppression.”

That meeting came after China had raised objections to the Dalai Lama’s meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg of the United Kingdom after he had received the 2012 Templeton award at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Brigitte Oeppinger had a long stint in South Africa before coming to India earlier this month, so she is fully aware how in the past certain countries in Africa had denied permission to the Tibetan spiritual leader in moves that created major controversy inside the African civil society, the report said.

Brigitte Oeppinger paid floral tributes at the Gandhi Samadhi at the Raj Ghat immediately after presenting her credentials to President Ramnath Kovind last week, the report added.

She has said non-violence propagated by the Dalai Lama, Mandela and Gandhi showed the way forward for the world. She had interacted with the late Nelson Mandela and Nobel laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu during her South Africa stint.

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