Tibetans want normalcy before talks on Tibet(Lead)

April 26th, 2008 - 5:51 pm ICT by admin  

Dharamsala/Washington, April 26 (IANS) China’s offer to talk to the Dalai Lama’s representative has been accepted by the Tibetan government-in-exile with the condition that there has to be “normalcy” in Tibet before meetings take place. The US has welcomed Beijing’s initiative to end the crisis. Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has made it clear that he welcomes China’s offer to meet his representatives in the wake of international pressure that followed anti-Beijing riots in Tibet capital Lhasa.

The Tibetan government-in-exile said Saturday the situation in Tibet needs to be normalised before talks take place between envoys of China and those of the Dalai Lama.

The prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Samdhong Rinpoche said: “We feel it will require normalcy in the Tibetan areas for the formal resumption of talks. We are committed to take all steps, including informal meetings.”

The US welcomed China’s offer to hold meetings with representatives of the Dalai Lama to end the crisis in Tibet, the US State Department said.

“It’s very encouraging,” department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday.

Washington has urged Beijing to engage the Dalai Lama to end the unrest in Tibet that erupted last month when demonstrations took place against Chinese rule.

In a statement issued Thursday from New York, the Dalai Lama said he supported talks.

“The best way forward is to resolve the issues between the Tibetans and the Chinese leadership through dialogue, as I have been advocating for a long time,” he was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal Friday.

“I have repeatedly assured the leadership of the People’s Republic of China that I am not seeking independence. What I am seeking is a meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people that would ensure the long-term survival of our Buddhist culture, our language and our distinct identity as a people,” he said.

The Chinese government Friday agreed to hold talks with the Dalai Lama’s envoy. “In view of the requests repeatedly made by the Dalai Lama’s side for resuming talks, the related department of the central government will have contact and consult with the Dalai Lama’s private representative in the coming days,” a Chinese official told Xinhua news agency.

“The policy of the central government towards the Dalai Lama has been consistent and the door of dialogue has remained open,” he added.

Bejing started a dialgue with the Tibetan government-in-exile in 2002, but the talks broke down.

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