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"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

Foreign briefing: The Tibetan government-in-exile has denied secret talks

June 10, 2008

By Alex Massie
The Scotman (UK)
June 9, 2008

THE Tibetan government-in-exile has denied secret talks between the
Dalai Lama's representatives and China were being brokered by the
Norwegian government.

Reports in the Norwegian press claim there have been confidential
meetings to explore potential solutions to the 50-year occupation
that has returned to embarrass China in the run-up to the Beijing
Olympics this summer.

The Verdens Gang, a Norwegian newspaper, cited diplomatic sources in
Washington as the basis for its report that confidential discussions
had been taking place for some time.

Norway has long punched above its weight in international diplomacy,
brokering the 1993 Oslo Accords that, for a time, offered the glimpse
of a potential solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. More
recently, Oslo has played a role in helping negotiate a 2002 truce in
Sri Lanka's civil war and, in 2005, mediating an accord between the
warring parties in Sudan.

Like the Sri Lankan initiative, however, that deal proved short-lived
as violence and ethnic cleansing continued to ravage Darfur.

Notwithstanding those setbacks, Norway offers an example that the SNP
would emulate.

In his speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York last
year, Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, said: "The Norwegian
effort is truly global -- their diplomats respected the world over
and routinely taking the lead in mediation in places as far away as
Sudan, Bosnia and Colombia. That is what international citizenship is
all about."

Mr Salmond is fond of talking about an "arc of prosperity"
surrounding Scotland. Now he seeks to fit Scotland into an "arc of
international engagement," as an independent Scotland would be
looking for a role to play on the international stage.

As the Norwegian example demonstrates, there is a limit to what even
the most well-intentioned peacebrokers can hope to achieve in terms
of resolving the world's most intractable conflicts.

Nonetheless, Norway's engagement with Tibet and in other areas is as
much an inspiration to the SNP's foreign policy as Oslo's national
oil fund is to the party's energy and fiscal policies.
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