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French take tough line on Olympics

Secretary of State for Human Rights Rama Yade said these conditions were “indispensable” for Sarkozy to attend the opening of the Games.

world Updated: Apr 06, 2008 01:40 IST

French President Nicholas Sarkozy will boycott the opening of the Beijing Olympics unless China opens dialogue with the Dalai Lama and frees political prisoners, a French minister told

Le Monde

on Saturday.

Secretary of State for Human Rights Rama Yade said these conditions were “indispensable” for Sarkozy to attend the opening of the Games.

Sarkozy will announce his decision “after consulting with our European partners, because he will then be speaking as current president of the European Union,” Yade told the daily newspaper.

“Nevertheless, three conditions are indispensable for him to go: an end to violence against the population and the release of political prisoners, light to be shed on the events in Tibet and the opening of dialogue with the Dalai Lama,” Tibet’s spiritual leader, she said.

France calls on China to undertake “a really constructive dialogue with the Dalai Lama,” she said. “These discussions should be about the recognition of Tibetan autonomy and the spiritual, religious and cultural identity of Tibetans.”