Pope John Paul II met on Thursday with the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, despite the meeting was not listed in the official papal audiences of the day.

Explaining why the meeting was not in the official list - which included, among others, Georgi Parvanov, president of the Republic of Bulgaria, - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office said: “It was a brief courtesy visit in which exclusively religious topics were discussed.”