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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."

Special Meeting of exile Tibetans to be advisory, not policy framer

November 21, 2008

Tibetan Review
November 19, 2008

The Nov 17-22 Special Meeting of the Tibetans in exile began with the
head of the Tibetan government in exile Professor Samdhong Rinpoche
clarifying that his administration wanted the discussions and their
conclusions to be fully open. To ensure this, he said, he wanted the
Kalons (ministers) to be excused from taking part in the group
discussions, although this was not acceded to. As a result, he said,
the Kalons were joining the discussions only as observers, without
speaking out. He also explained that officials of the exile
administration attending the meeting had been instructed to freely
raise their concerns and express their views, irrespective of the
exile administration's standpoint and policy.

But he did make it clear that, with all its failures thus far, the
exile administration's middle way policy already had the popular
mandate, dating back to a unanimous resolution adopted Sep 18, 1997
by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. "(T)he present policy has public
mandate and therefore there is no reason to seek further public
support for it," he said.

It was made clear that with all the importance attached to it, the
Special Meeting's outcome would have only consultative and advisory
importance since policy formulation or revision is the dominion of
the parliament in exile. Given this context, Samdhong Rinpoche said
the meeting was an opportunity for all the Tibetans to discuss their
concerns and share opinions in the context of the recent uprising in
Tibet and China's very negative response to all Tibetan pleas for a
middle way resolution of the Tibet issue.

On the likely outcome of the Special Meeting, he said, "Whatever
stand may be decided for the future of Tibet, it should have clear
mandate of the people." That would be a tough task for the Rangzen
(independence) advocates.

In his speech, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Mr
Karma Chophel, said more than 8,000 of 17,000 Tibetans recently
surveyed in Tibet about their view said they would follow whatever
stand may be taken by the Dalai Lama, with more than 5,000 saying
they wanted independence, while 2,000 wanted the continuance of the
current approach.
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