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Home > India > News > PTI > Report

Tibet row: Dalai Lama seeks US help; US favours talks

April 22, 2008 19:44 IST

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Tibet [Images]an spiritual leader Dalai Lama [Images] has sought United States' 'help' in resolving the Tibet issue even as the Bush administration pressed China to open dialogue with the exiled spiritual leader.

"At this moment we need your help," the 72-year-old spiritual leader told US special envoy on Tibet Paula Dobriansky during a meeting in Michigan.

Dobriansky said the meeting with the Dalai Lama provided a 'timely opportunity' to discuss the situation in Tibet.

"The Bush administration has expressed concern about the situation in Tibet and has urged restraint," she said, adding, "In particular, President George Bush [Images] has been a steadfast supporter for the need for dialogue between His Holiness and Chinese leaders."

The State Department has not released details of the meeting -- the first since anti-China protests rocked Tibet mid-March, focusing global attention on the plight of Tibetans under Chinese rule.

Soon after the 12th meeting between Dobriansky and the Dalai Lama since 2001, the US State Department asked China to resume dialogue with the spiritual leader, stressing that 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate was not seeking independence of Tibet, but talks to resolve outstanding issues on it.

"We would certainly like to see that dialogue resume. It is something that had been going on in the past and we think it's the best way to be able to manage and deal with the problems in Tibet," State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said.

"We want to hear from him about his ideas and what he believes might be the next appropriate steps in this. We are certainly going to, of course, also continue to have discussions with the government of China about this," Casey said.

He also noted that the Dalai Lama had been seeking dialogue with Chinese authorities to help resolve many outstanding questions, including people's rights to practice their religion freely, to observe their cultural traditions freely and to be able to enjoy some basic civil liberties.

Beijing [Images] had held talks through unofficial channels with envoys of the Dalai Lama on the Tibet issue, but the dialogue was suspended last summer. Earlier, in a powerful editorial for the Washington Post, Dobriansky wrote that the best and only way forward for China to resolve the Tibet issue was 'meaningful dialogue' with the Dalai Lama.

'The Dalai Lama is the only person with the influence and credibility to persuade Tibetans to eschew violence and accept a genuine autonomy within China that would also preserve Tibetan culture and identity. Although the Chinese government recently arranged official trips to Lhasa for journalists and diplomats, we continue to call for unfettered access for all media and foreign diplomats into Tibetan areas,' Dobriansky wrote.

© Copyright 2008 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.



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