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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Contact with China not broken: Tibetan PM

March 23, 2009

By Kalsang Rinchen
March 20, 2009

Dharamsala, March 20 -- The exile government’s
first directly elected Prime Minister has said
that his government's contact with China on
Tibet’s future is not at a dead end.

The 70 year old former academician was responding
to a question posed by a member of 14th Tibetan
parliament yesterday at its ongoing seventh session.

"I don’t believe our contacts with China have broken," he said.

Prime Minister Prof Samdhong Rinpoche was asked
by Geshe Thupten Phelgye, MP, to clarify his
position stated in his address on the 19th
anniversary of the conferment of Nobel Peace
prize on the Dalai Lama that his side has
“already made all the required clarifications and
brought a process of dialogue that began in 2002 to its logical conclusion.”

Rinpoche told the parliament that by "logical conclusion" he meant two things.

He said that a ‘roadmap’ for negotiation was made
during a meeting of Task Force on Negotiation
held at Gopalpur TCV School in 2004 whereby it
was decided to follow the roadmap until 2007 and
a review done by 2008. This, he said, was done as
perceived. The second implication, he said, was
that the Chinese side had asked the Tibetan
delegation to clearly explain what the Dalai Lama
meant by ‘genuine or meaningful autonomy’. This,
the Tibetan PM said in his clarification, was
done in form of a memorandum presented during the eighth round of talks.

The Tibetan PM further said that the memorandum
on genuine autonomy presented before the Chinese
side has benefited immensely in making the
Tibetan side’s position clear internationally
since China always complained about the Tibetan
side being vague in its dealings. The Tibetan PM
said the memorandum clearly refutes the Chinese
allegations that “we are seeking disguised independence”.

China categorically rejected the Tibetan side’s
memorandum on genuine autonomy during the eighth
round of talks calling it “an agenda of independence’.

Rinpoche said that it is the responsibility of
his government to continue its efforts to
reestablish contact with the Beijing leadership
irrespective of whether China responds or not.
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