Dalai Lama “optimistic” about China talks

June 12th, 2008 - 4:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney June 12 (DPA) Exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama said Thursday he was optimistic peace talks with China could resume next month. “Basically, I’m optimistic,” he said in Sydney at the start of a world tour that will take him to five countries.

The monk said Beijing’s response to the earthquake in Sechuan province had been “wonderful” and predicted the Tibet leg of the Olympic torch relay would be free of trouble.

“We have fully supported the Olympic Games right from the beginning,” he said. “The torch is part of that. Over one billion Chinese brothers and sisters feel really proud of that. We should respect that. So I don’t think there will be any trouble.”

China has accused the 72-year-old of fomenting the violence in Tibet in March that provoked a crackdown on dissent. He distanced himself from Hollywood actress Sharon Stone’s suggestion that the Sichuan quake was “karma.”

The Nobel laureate called on Beijing to give Tibet “meaningful autonomy,” saying that “stability must come from the heart, not a gun.”

The monk met opposition Liberal Party leader Brendan Nelson and is scheduled to meet Greens leader Bob Brown. Talks are also planned this week with Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, Immigration Minister Chris Evans and acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

He won’t be meeting Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who is out of the country, but the two met during his last visit to Australia.

Speaking to university students in Beijing in April, Rudd said there were human rights abuses in Tibet and urged China’s leaders to help resolve the issues in talks with the exiled Tibetan leader.

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