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China willing to engage with Tibet envoy

An envoy to the Dalai Lama says Chinese negotiators show a willingness to engage with the Tibetan side during recent talks.
Reuters | By Abhishek Madhukar
UPDATED ON MAY 08, 2008 11:15 AM IST

An envoy to the Dalai Lama said on Thursday Chinese negotiators had shown a willingness to engage with the Tibetan side during recent talks, despite major differences on important issues.

"There were strong and divergent views on the nature as well as the causes of the recent tragic events in Tibet," the envoy, Lodi Gyari, said in a statement issued in Dharamsala, home of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
"These views were expressed in a frank and candid manner."

Each side exchanged "concrete proposals which can be part of a future agenda," Lodi Gyari said.

"Despite major differences on important issues, both sides demonstrated a willingness to seek common approaches in addressing the issues at hand," he said.

A date for another round of formal talks would be finalised soon, Lodi Gyari said.

"We welcome the recent statement of President Hu Jintao that his government is 'serious' about the dialogue and his acknowledging that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is being 'conscientious and serious'," he said.

Lodi Gyari said the Tibetan side had categorically rejected Chinese accusations the Dalai Lama was behind demonstrations and unrest in Tibet which began in March.

Instead the team of two envoys had argued that events in Tibet were "a clear symptom of deeply felt grievances and resentment of the Tibetans" towards Chinese government policies going back decades.

"The task at hand is to address the legitimate concerns of the Tibetan people in a realistic and constructive way," Lodi Gyari said.

He said the Tibetan side had appealed for an end to "the current repression" throughout Tibet, the release of prisoners and proper medical treatment for those injured in the recent unrest.

The envoy also called for an end to China's "patriotic re-education" campaign, which he said was deeply resented by the Tibetan people.

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