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After Tibet violence, Germany halts aid talks with China

March 20, 2008

Wed, 19 Mar 2008
DPA

Berlin - Responding to the violence in Tibet, Germany announced
Wednesday it was freezing aid talks with Beijing which mainly involve
grants to reduce air pollution by power plants. The move marks a fresh
upset in Berlin-Beijing relations, which had only recently been patched
up after the Chinese were angered at Chancellor Angela Merkel receiving
the Dalai Lama in her office in September last year.

The inter-government aid talks, set to begin in May, would not begin
until the violence has stopped, said German Development Aid Minister
Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul. "Force can never be the solution," she said.

"The two sides can only arrive at a solution through dialogue. Under
such conditions, it is hardly conceivable to be conducting
inter-government negotiations."

Merkel's deputy spokesman, Thomas Steg, repeated Berlin's call on both
sides in Tibet to respect human rights and refrain from violence.

Wieczorek-Zeul oversaw talks last year that led to total grants of 67.5
million euros (105 million dollars), her aides said.

These were mainly paid out to Chinese companies operating dirty
electricity plants.

Berlin said it offered the help because China had the world's
second-largest emissions of carbon dioxide and was the world's worst
sulphur-dioxide polluter.

Wieczorek-Zeul said separate talks going back several years between
Germany and China on improving the rule of law would continue.
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