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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."

Sarkozy: France is Watching progress of China-Tibet Talks

June 1, 2008

Asia-Pacific News
May 30, 2008, 14:27 GMT

Vienna - France is watching the progress of talks between China and
representatives of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled leader, before
deciding on attending the opening of the Beijing Olympics, French
President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday.

"There is progress, which is positive" Sarkozy said, after a meeting
with Austria's Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer in Vienna.

France was aware that Tibet and the Olympics were sensitive issues in
Europe, Sarkozy said, adding that France had "open ears" for both sides.

He would continue to watch developments before making a final
decision on whether to attend opening ceremony, the French president said.

French officials said on Friday according to news reports that the
country was being targeted by Chinese tourism boycotts after protests
in Paris disrupted the Olympic torch relay last month.

Gusenbauer said he generally disagreed with boycotting international
events, but stressed the opening would be "unthinkable" if marred by
images of violence, for example from Tibet.

He had no plans to travel to the Beijing, as Austria's leaders never
put much store in attending Olympic opening ceremonies, Gusenbauer said.

'I do not think we will change this policy,' he said.
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