US urges China to begin talks with Dalai Lama

April 12th, 2008 - 5:02 am ICT by admin  

Washington, April 12 (DPA) US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice and her German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, called on the Chinese government Friday to begin talks with the Dalai Lama to resolve the crisis in Tibet. Rice urged the Chinese to open dialogue with Tibet moderate leaders who are not calling for an end to Chinese rule of the province.

Violence during demonstrations that began last month prompted a crackdown from Beijing.

“Violence is not an option,” Rice said, also adding the Chinese should provide greater access to Tibet for diplomats and journalists.

Rice said Thursday the US is considering whether to open a consulate in the Tibet capital Lhasa so US officials can better follow develpments in Tibet.

Rice and Steinmeier also discussed the dispute with Iran over its nuclear programme ahead of a meeting between the five permanent members of the Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus Germany next week.

Rice urged Tehran to accept the incentives offered by the group to suspend uranium enrichment and cooperate with the United Nations’ nuclear monitoring body known as the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Steinmeier criticized Iran for announcing this week that it expanded its centrifuge assembly to produce enriched uranium at a higher rate.

“We think this is another provocation for the international community and I expect Iran to comply with the demands of the international community,” Steinmeier said through a translator.

During the 45-minute meeting, the two diplomats discussed the Middle East peace process and condemned Hamas for obstructing negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli governments.

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