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EU will invite Dalai Lama for talks: French minister

April 2, 2008

The Times of India
1 Apr 2008

PARIS: The European Union will invite the Dalai Lama for talks to
Brussels, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Tuesday,
after EU foreign ministers called for "substantive and constructive
dialogue" between China and Tibet's spiritual leader.

The 27 EU foreign ministers will invite the Dalai Lama once a decision
has been made by the Slovenian EU presidency which is expected shortly,
Kouchner told RTL radio.

"As the Dalai Lama does not ask for a boycott (of the Olympic Games in
Beijing) nor Tibet's independence it is time to go back (to dialogue),"
he added.

The foreign ministers, meeting in Slovenia on Saturday, voiced their
strong concern at recent events in Tibet where, according to Tibetan
exiles, some 140 people have died in China's crackdown on protests there.

The European Union called for "substantive and constructive dialogue
which addresses core issues like preservation of the Tibetan language,
culture, religion and traditions."

On Sunday Chinese state media said China voiced "strong dissatisfaction"
after the EU foreign ministers' statement.

"The Tibet issue is completely China's internal affair. No foreign
countries or international organizations have the right to interfere in
it," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, according to Xinhua
news agency.
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