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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Dalai Lama Upbeat on China Talks Ahead of Visit to Germany

May 11, 2008

Deutche Press Agentur (DPA)
Saturday, May 10, 2008 16:10]

Talks between representatives of the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama are being conducted in a cordial atmosphere, a German news magazine reported, following an interview with the Tibetan religious leader.

Both sides had agreed on a "common approach" to the talks, which began this month in the city of Shenzhen, Der Spiegel's online edition reported on Friday.

The Dalai Lama, who begins a four-day visit to Germany on May 16, told the magazine the negotiations were being held in an atmosphere that was "not aggressive but respectful."

Concrete proposals had been made for the next round of talks, he added.

The Tibetan leader said he believed that Chinese side had agreed to the talks under pressure from the protests in Tibet in March and in fear that the Beijing Olympics, which begin in August, could be harmed.

PRESSURE WORKS

"I can only encourage every free society to keep up the pressure," the Dalai Lama said, stressing that the talks with Beijing had to be productive and not just symbolic.

They also had to be transparent - "an end to secret talks behind closed doors."

The Chinese had finally to agree that there was a problem in Tibet.

On Thursday, the European representative of the Dalai Lama criticized Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier for failing to meet the Tibetan leader when he visits Germany next week.

Tseten Chhoekyapa said it was unfortunate that Steinmeier had turned down the chance of a meeting on the grounds he had no time.

"We think he was badly advised," Chhoekyapa said in Berlin.

The Dalai Lama is to hold speeches in four cities, with human rights as the main theme.

He is due meet the president of the German parliament, Norbert Lammert in Bochum, and address the foreign affairs and human rights committees of the German parliament in Berlin.

SPEECH AT THE BRANDENBURG GATE

On the final day of the visit, May 19, the Dalai Lama plans to deliver a speech at the German capital's landmark Brandenburg Gate, a spokesman for the German Tibet Initiative said.

A private meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Tibetan leader in September led to a chill in relations between Berlin and Beijing that ended only in January after intense German diplomatic efforts.

The chancellor will not be in Germany during the Dalai Lama's forthcoming visit.
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