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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

White House welcomes new China-Dalai Lama talks

May 6, 2008

Agence France-Presse (AFP)
May 5, 2008

GREENSBURG, Kansas (AFP) ­ The White House welcomed the resumption of talks between the Chinese authorities and representatives of the Dalai Lama Sunday and expressed hope they would produce results.

"We have long encouraged the resumption of a dialogue between Chinese authorities and the Dalai Lama. We hope discussions can lead to better understanding," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.

China and envoys of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, held closed-door talks Sunday for the first time in over a year, state media said. No breakthrough in ending the Tibet crisis was reported but they agreed to keep talking.

The meeting took place after global leaders pressured China to reopen dialogue amid seven weeks of deadly unrest in Tibet that has marred the build-up to the Beijing Olympic Games this summer.

Bush has rejected calls for a boycott of the Games, saying he will attend but this will not stop him raising the issue of human rights with the Chinese.

While acknowledging that Tibet is an integral part of China, his administration has criticised the repression of religious freedom there and called on Beijing to respect the identity of Tibetans.

It has urged China to hold talks with the Dalai Lama, who it says is a "man of peace." Beijing considers him a separatist and accused him of instigating the unrest in Tibet.
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