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Home > India > News > PTI

Talk to Dalai Lama on Tibet issue, China told

March 24, 2008 21:05 IST
Last Updated: March 24, 2008 21:39 IST

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India and the United States on Monday urged China and the Dalai Lama [Images] to hold peaceful negotiations between them to resolve the pro-independence unrest in Tibet [Images] with Washington insisting that dialogue was the "only" policy that is sustainable in the Himalayan region.

"We have expressed our concern...about the latest developments. We do hope it will be possible to resolve the issue through peaceful dialogue between the parties concerned," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters at a joint press conference after holding wideranging talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [Images] in Washington.

Rice, who was more forthcoming on the vexed Tibet issue, urged China to initiate dialogue with the Dalai Lama as it was the "only policy that is sustainable in Tibet."

"We believe that the answer for Tibet is to have a more sustanable policy for the Chinese government," Rice said.

"I have spoken with my counterpart (Yang Jiechi) about the current situation in which there needs to be restraint in which violence is not acceptable," she said.

"But there also needs to be a day after the current events and that really requires a sustained process of dealing with the problems of Tibet and the grievances of Tibet," she said.

"We are going to continue to encourage that dialogue because ultimately that is going to be the only policy that is sustainable in Tibet," she said, adding to the growing international demand that Beijing [Images] should initiate talks with the 72-year-old Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader.

Mukherjee is here on his maiden bilateral visit as external affairs minister.

"We believe that the Dalai Lama can play a very favourable role given his belief in non-violence, given his stated position that he does not seek political independence for Tibet, and given his unassailable authoritative moral stature, not just with the people of Tibet but with people from around the world," Rice said.

Her comments is the latest from top US politicians who have been urging China that it should initiate talks with the 72-year-old monk, who is on exile in India since 1959 after a failed armed uprsing against communist rule in Tibet.

Last week, the powerful US Speaker of House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi had met the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala and described the situation in Tibet as a challenge to the "conscience of the world" and asked all freedom loving people to speak out against China's "oppression".

She said the US Congress will continue to meet the challenge of conscience that Tibet offers.

Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for "restraint" in Tibet, and offered France [Images] as a go-between in any new talks between China and the representatives of the Dalai Lama.

A statement from Sarkozy's office said he sent a message to Chinese President Hu Jintao expressing sadness over
recent "tragic events" in Tibet, and saying that he hoped talks between the two sides would resume.

On March 18, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had said that Tibet is a "sensitive issue" between China and India.

However, Wen appreciated India's cracking down on Tibetan proteters in the country.

Wen said he had reached "broad agreement" with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh [Images] over the Tibet issue.

Police last week arrested over 100 Tibetan marchers who were planning to cross over to their Himalayan homeland and also detained scores of others who scaled the Chinese embassy in New Delhi.

China has faced intense international pressure since protests against Chinese rule turned violent March 14 in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, sparking unrest in surrounding provinces. The violence, worst since 1989, has claimed 19 lives.

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