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US, Europe to hail China talks with Dalai Lama

June 12, 2008

June 9, 2008

LJUBLJANA (AFP) -- The United States and the European Union will call
on China Tuesday to have "results-orientated" talks on Tibet with the
Dalai Lama's representatives, according to a draft joint declaration
obtained Monday.

"We welcome China's recent decision to hold talks with the Dalai
Lama's representatives. We encourage both parties to move forward
with a substantive, constructive and results-orientated dialogue at
an early stage," it said.

The declaration, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, was to be
released after US President George W. Bush and European Union leaders
hold an annual summit near Slovenia's capital Ljubljana.

"We are concerned about the recent unrest in Tibet and urge all sides
to refrain from further violence," the declaration says.

Spurred by international pressure over seven weeks of deadly unrest
in Tibet, Chinese officials met the Dalai Lama's envoys in early May
for a day of talks which led to an agreement to restart formal
discussions that broke off last year.

A seventh round of long-running talks between China and Tibet
scheduled for June 11 has been postponed as Beijing focuses on
earthquake relief efforts, an aide to the Dalai Lama said last week.

"We are trying to work out fresh dates in June," said Tenzin Taklha,
deputy secretary to the Tibetan spiritual leader, confirming
discussions had earlier been set for next week.

"This was before the earthquake. A lot of efforts are now going towards that."

China has been battling to provide relief to victims of a massive
earthquake in Sichuan province on May 12 that killed over 69,000
people and left millions homeless.

Deadly riots broke out on March 14 in Lhasa after earlier peaceful
protests to mark the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against
Chinese rule.

Beijing says it acted with restraint to quell the Tibetan "rioters"
and "insurgents," charging them with killing 21 people in the unrest,
which spread to other parts of western China with Tibetan populations.

The Tibetan government-in-exile says 203 Tibetans were killed and
about 1,000 hurt in China's crackdown.
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