Tibetan leader dismayed with Norway over Dalai Lama snub

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The leader of Tibet's exiled government criticised on Thursday the Norwegian government's decision not to meet the Dalai Lama, saying it should have resisted Chinese pressure.

"It's unfortunate that the Norwegian leadership did not meet with the Dalai Lama because of the tremendous pressure of the Chinese government," Lobsang Sangay said in the northern Indian hill station of Dharamsala where he was launching a fresh campaign for autonomy for Tibetans in China.

"Norway always has 10 percent surplus in its economy," said Sangay, prime minister of the exiled government. "Of all the countries, Norway should be the least dependent on the Chinese economy," he told AFP.

"It seems unfortunate that the incident has happened which is clearly sad."

Oslo has described its decision to snub the revered spiritual leader during a three-day trip to the country last month as a "necessary sacrifice" to normalise its relations with China.

Beijing stopped all high-level contact with Norway after the Nobel Peace Prize was given to Chinese dissident Liu Xiabobo in 2010.

Oslo has faced public criticism for its decision to avoid the Tibetan spiritual leader who was in the country to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his Nobel Peace Prize.

The Dalai Lama himself has said he holds no grudges over the decision.

Sangay, a Harvard-educated scholar, was elected prime minister in 2011 after the Dalai Lama announced he was retiring from his political role.