Tibetan government-in-exile appreciates UN’s gesture

December 18th, 2008 - 10:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, Dec 18 (IANS) The Tibetan government-in-exile Thursday appreciated the United Nations’ gesture of advising Beijing to continue the negotiations on the future of Tibet with representatives of the Dalai Lama.UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week said he hoped the dialogue would continue “in a sincere manner, so all the concerns regarding Tibet will be resolved smoothly and harmoniously”.

The two sides - Chinese and the Dalai Lama envoys - have held eight rounds of talks since 2002 to try and find a mutually acceptable solution to the Tibetan issue, with no major breakthrough.

After the last round of negotiations (eighth round), China insisted it would not compromise on the status of the Himalayan region.

“These forthright remarks by the secretary general of the world body indicate the concerns of the international community as a whole on the current sad state of Tibet. We believe that such remarks will serve as an impetus for the Chinese authorities to resolve the issue of Tibet to the satisfaction of the Tibetan and the Chinese people,” the government-in-exile said in a statement.

“At the same time, we are dismayed by the remarks made in response to the secretary general’s comments by the Chinese foreign ministry that the door to dialogue is still open while reiterating many pre-conditions that make it impossible for the dialogue process to move forward,” the Tibetan statement said.

“The key is whether the Dalai Lama examines and corrects his political stance, abandons his wrongful position on ‘Tibetan independence’ and genuinely matches his words with actions. In fact, this attitude of the Chinese authorities is the real obstacle to the advancement of the dialogue process. This attitude is the one that firmly closes the door for further dialogue,” said the Chinese foreign ministry statement.

At a public function here Wednesday, when the Dalai Lama was asked by IANS about the UN chief’s advisory to China, he refused to say anything.

“No comments…I am not the right person (to comment)… our prime minister Samdhong Rinpoche is the right person to comment (on the issue),” the Dalai Lama said.

The Buddhist monk said he was working as spiritual head of the Tibetans, while Rinpoche was the “boss for issues concerning Tibet”.

Rinpoche, who accompanied the Dalai Lama during the function, said: “We are strict on our charter of demands submitted through a memorandum during the eighth round of talks in Beijing.”

“If the Chinese want to restart the negotiations, then the demands of the exiles for meaningful autonomy and protections for the Himalayan region’s unique Buddhist culture would be in the forefront,” Rinpoche said.

“The door to talks with the Chinese is always open, provided they (Chinese) are sincere. We want to settle the issue mutually within the (Chinese) constitution, through negotiations.”

However, he clarified that “the issue of Tibet concerns the future of six million Tibetans there and not just the exiled spiritual leader”.

The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 following Chinese occupation of Tibet. The Tibetan government-in-exile is based in this Himachal Pradesh town and around 100,000 Tibetan exiles live in India.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner earlier this month visited Poland, where he met French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other European Union leaders to garner support for “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet. He has denied China’s claims that he wants independence for Tibet, saying he only seeks greater autonomy.

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