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US asks China to hold talks with Dalai Lama

world Updated: Mar 20, 2008 08:17 IST

PTI
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The Bush administration on Thursday asked Beijing to hold dialogue with the Dalai Lama to resolve many of the outstanding issues and not for the independence of Tibet.

"I think one of the things that is clear is that the Dalai Lama is not calling for independence for Tibet, he is calling for engagement with Chinese officials in dialogue. And we support that call. We very much want to see the Chinese speak with the Dalai Lama or his representatives to try and resolve many of these outstanding issues," Deputy spokesman of the US State Department Tom Casey said.

Asking China to exercise restraint in dealing with protests in Tibet, the senior Bush administration official said "we do not wish to see any loss of innocent life."

We believe the way to address the concerns being expressed by protesters in Tibet is for there to be this kind of dialogue between the Dalai Lama and his representatives and the Chinese government, he added.

Asked about suggestions on a British report that the Chinese Premier would meet the Dalai Lama if certain conditions are met, Casey said, "it would be a very positive thing if they chose to do so and we would certainly like to see that happen."

He is the spiritual leader for many people in Tibet and elsewhere. And we believe that he has an important role to play in being able to help resolve some of the tensions and problems there, the senior official said.