France watching progress of China-Tibet talks: Sarkozy

May 31st, 2008 - 12:16 am ICT by admin  

Vienna, May 30 (DPA) France is watching the progress of talks between China and representatives of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, before deciding on attending the opening of the Beijing Olympics, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday. “There is progress, which is positive,” Sarkozy said after a meeting with Austria’s Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer in Vienna.

“France is aware that Tibet and the Olympics are sensitive issues in Europe,” Sarkozy said, adding that France had “open ears” for both sides.

He would continue to watch developments before making a final decision on whether to attend the opening ceremony, the French president said.

French officials said Friday, according to news reports, that the country was being targeted by Chinese tourism boycotts after protests in Paris disrupted the Olympic torch relay last month.

Gusenbauer said he generally disagreed with boycotting international events, but stressed the opening would be “unthinkable” if marred by images of violence, for example from Tibet.

He had no plans to travel to the Beijing, as Austria’s leaders never put much store in attending Olympic opening ceremonies, Gusenbauer said.

“I do not think we will change this policy,” he said.

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