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Norway MPs slammed for Dalai Lama 'cowardice'

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Norway MPs slammed for Dalai Lama 'cowardice'
The Dalai Lama visiting Oslo in 2005. Photo: Håkon Mosvsvold Larsen/Scanpix
16:30 CEST+02:00
Norway's parliament has been accused of cowardice after it declined to offer an official meeting to the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, when he visits Norway next month.
In a thundering editorial on Tuesday, Harald Stanghelle, the political editor of the country's Aftenposten newspaper, accused the parliament's president Olemic Thommessen of "cowardice and temerity" for his decision not to proffer an invitation.
 
He also criticized a decision to refuse to allow members of parliament who wanted to bring the Tibetan leader into the parliamentary buildings to use the grand Lagting hall, or to allow the Dalai Lama to enter by the main entrance. 
 
"Political Norway wants to force the Nobel prize winning Dalai Lama to go through the back door when he enters parliament," Stanghelle wrote in his article. "It is so pitiful that it could even be dangerous."
 
The Dalai Lama's visit on May 22nd has caused a major dilemma for Norway's political leadership, which is struggling to repair relations with China after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese dissident, in 2010. 
 
Following Afternposten's editorial, Ketil Kjenseth, the Liberal Democrat MP who heads the Parliament's Tibet committee, said he would ensure that the Tibetan leader enters the parliament through the front gates, even if that means defying the leadership. 
 
"Unless someone refuses to let me use the door I am entitled to as a member of parliament,  I'm going to take the Dalai Lama into the parliament through the main entrance," he told Aftenposten.
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