May 18, 2009
Below is an article published by Radio Netherlands :
The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) has criticised Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's refusal to meet the Dalai Lama as 'a sign of little respect'. The Tibetan spiritual leader will visit the Netherlands next month [June 2009]. During his visit he will give a speech to senior business leaders and government officials.
The Dutch branch of the ICT points out that former Prime Minister Wim Kok did meet the Dalai Lama when he visited the Netherlands in 1999. Members of the ICT executive have been informed by the foreign ministry that Minister Verhagen will meet the Dalai Lama during a private meeting with other spiritual leaders.
China has reportedly put pressure on the Netherlands to prevent a meeting between Prime Minister Balkenende and the Dalai Lama. Parliament, on the other hand, has urged the government to give an official reception for the Tibetan spiritual leader. In parliament on Tuesday [19 May 2009], MPs will ask the prime minister to explain why he refuses to meet the Dalai Lama.