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US backs talks between China and Dalai Lama

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 03, 2008 17:36 IST
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The United States has expressed strong support for a dialogue between the Chinese government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama.

"In terms of our views on conversations with the Chinese and representatives of the Dalai Lama, we've been calling for that for a long time. We certainly support the statements, as the president said, that the Chinese government has said that they're willing to have this meeting take place," State Department's Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said at a briefing.

"We certainly want to see it take place, and believe that the dialogue between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese government is really the best way to address some of the fundamental issues in Tibet," he said.

"... I don't think that we need to catalogue for the Tibetan people what their basic concerns are."

"We have a situation in Tibet where people feel that they are unable to freely practice their religion, freely practice some of their cultural traditions and values, and this is an ongoing problem. These are things that would be discussed," Casey said when asked what the United States would consider as a substantive discussion.

" Certainly, the Dalai Lama himself has said that he is not calling for any kind of change in the political status of Tibet. He's not calling for independence, but calling for a discussion with the Chinese government to help resolve some of these issues and allow people to be able to enjoy some of these basic rights," he added.

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