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US calls for substantive talks 'without precondition' on Tibet

August 30, 2010

By Phurbu Thinley
August 28, 2010

Dharamsala, Aug. 28: In its annual report on
"Tibet Negotiations" submitted to the Congress
earlier this month, the Obama administration has
demanded "substantive" dialogue "without
preconditions" between His Holiness the Dalai
Lama and Beijing to resolve the long-standing Tibet issue.

"Encouraging substantive dialogue between Beijing
and the Dalai Lana is an important foreign policy
objective of the United States. We continue to
encourage representatives of the PRC and the
Dalai Lama to hold direct and substantive
discussions aimed at the resolution of
difference, without precondition,” the report said.

The "Report on Tibet Negotiations: March 2009 -
February 2010" outlines the "Status of
discussions" between the two sides and recounts
steps taken by the Obama administration to
encourage the PRC government to enter into a
dialogue with the Dalai Lama “leading to a negotiated agreement on Tibet”.

"The US government believes that the Dalai Lama
can be a constructive partner for China as it
deals with the difficult challenge of continuing
tensions in Tibetan areas. His views are widely
reflected within Tibetan society, and he commands
the respect of the vast majority of Tibetans. His
consistent advocacy on non-violence is an
important principle for making progress toward a
lasting solution,” the report noted.

"China's engagement with the Dalai Lama or his
representatives to resolve problems facing
Tibetans is in the interests of both the Chinese
government and the Tibetan people. Failure to
address these problems will lead to greater
tensions inside China and will be an impediment
to China's social and economic development.”

In the 11-page report, the US government
reiterated its call on China to respect the
unique religious, linguistic and cultural
heritage of the Tibetan people, and their human rights, and civil liberties.

The report, which was due in March, was only
submitted to the Congress only on August 18, a
significant delay that critics say could imply
"downplaying" of Tibet by Obama administration.

The US’s policy on Tibet is spelled out in the
Tibet Policy Act 2002, and it supports, among
other things, talks between the Dalai Lama and
Beijing and respect for Tibetans' human rights
and religious, linguistic and cultural heritage.

Under the act, the US government is required to
submit its annual report on the negotiations between Beijing and Dalai Lama.

Nine rounds of talks held so far since 2002
between the two sides did not produce any concrete results.

After a hiatus of almost 15 months the two sides
held their ninth round of dialogue in January 2010 in Beijing.

While welcoming the resumption of dialogue, the
report said US was "disappointed that eight years
of talks have not borne concrete results."

"We hope that another round will be scheduled
soon and will include discussion that will lead
to solutions to the problems that Tibet and its people face.

"We continue to urge both sides to engage in
substantive dialogue and hope to see a tenth
round of dialogue that will lead to positive
movement on questions related to Tibetans’ lives
and livelihood," the report said.
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