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Tibetans see little point in more talks with China

July 17, 2008

BRUSSELS , July 16, 2008 (AFP) — The Tibetan Dalai Lama's special envoy
said Tuesday that Tibetans had told China that they see no point in the
dialogue with Beijing, begun in 2002, because Beijing is not serious
about the talks.

"We do not see any useful purpose in continuing the dialogue, since
there is obviously a lack of political will from the Chinese leadership
to seriously address the issue of Tibet," said the envoy, Kelsang Gyaltsen.

"However (our) Chinese counterparts felt the dialogue we had begun in
2002 has been useful for both sides to understand each other better," he
told reporters at the European Parliament in Brussels.

The Chinese had said it would not be realistic to think a 50-year old
issue could be resolved in a few years of meetings, he said. The two
sides had agreed to meet again in October, he added.

Gyaltsen also expressed hope that French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who
will attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing in
October, would use the opportunity to push China to look for a solution
to the problem.

"We hope that President Sarkozy ... will use this opportunity to speak
to President Hu Jintao and to encourage President Hu Jintao to seriously
address the issue of Tibet and to seek a mutually acceptable solution,"
he said.

Sarkozy said last week that he would attend the Games ceremony, after
having expressed reservations earlier the year because of a Chinese
crackdown in Tibet.

But at the same time tensions between Paris and Beijing rose over the
possibility that French leader might meet the Dalai Lama during a visit
to France.

Last week, Chinese Ambassador Kong Quan warned of "serious consequences"
to Sino-French relations if Sarkozy met the exiled Tibetan leader.

Sarkozy, whose country holds the European Union's presidency, retorted
that it was not up to Beijing to set his agenda, but he did not confirm
whether he would meet the Dalai Lama during the August 12-23 visit.
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