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Dalai Lama Praises Talks with China

May 12, 2008

Are tensions easing between China and Tibet? In a SPIEGEL interview,
the Dalai Lama has spoken positively about recent talks with Beijing.
He says the tone of discussions has been "respectful." Still, the
Tibetan spiritual leader is calling for Germany and the West to
continue applying pressure on China.

The Dalai Lama: "Respectful" talks with Chinese negotiators
Spiegel (Germany)/AP
May 9, 2008

The Dalai Lama: "Respectful" talks with Chinese negotiators
If Chinese leaders are convinced that the Dalai Lama is personally
responsible for inciting the people of Lhasa in Tibet, the Tibetan
Buddhist spiritual leader told SPIEGEL in an interview, "then they
should go to Oslo and see to it that I am stripped of my Nobel Peace Prize."

In an extensive interview with SPIEGEL one week before a planned
visit to Germany, the Dalai Lama has called on Beijing to either
provide evidence to support its allegations against him or to finally
pursue a course toward a compromise.

The Dalai Lama also spoke positively about the results of the recent
talks between two of the Tibetan spiritual leader's envoys and
Chinese negotiators in Shenzhen on May 4. He said that both sides had
shown a willingness to find a "common approach to achieve" a solution
to the existing problems. That readiness, he said, was in no way
abstract, adding that there had been "concrete proposals" for the
next formal round of talks that both parties have agreed to. The
discussions so far, he said, had taken place in a comfortable
atmosphere that was "not aggressive, but rather respectful."

The Tibetan spiritual leader attributed China's willingness to engage
in talks following the March insurgency in Tibet to international
pressure and the upcoming Summer Olympics taking place in Beijing. "I
can only encourage every free society, especially Germany, to sustain
this pressure," he told SPIEGEL.

The Dalai Lama is planning to meet with politicians during his trip
to Germany, a development that has sparked fresh political tensions
with Beijing. "Hopefully the Chinese will contain their protests this
time," he said, referring to Beijing's diplomatic sparring with
Berlin last autumn after German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the
Dalai Lama.

Recently Merkel said she planned to meet with the Tibetan spiritual
leader again, but no such plans are on the table for his next visit.
Merkel will be on a trip to Latin America when the Dalai Lama
arrives, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has also
said that he does not plan to meet the Dalai Lama during the exiled
Tibetan leader's visit to Germany.

However, the Dalai Lama is expected to meet with Norbert Lammert, the
head of the German Bundestag (or parliament) as well as Jürgen
Rüttgers, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most
populous state.

SPIEGEL ONLINE will publish the full interview with the Dalai Lama on Monday.

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