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French President Says Attending Olympics Depends on Tibet Talks

July 2, 2008

Voice of America (VOA)
June 30, 2008

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he might attend the Beijing
Olympics if there is progress in talks between China and
representatives of the Dalai Lama.

Mr. Sarkozy had indicated he might boycott the opening ceremony of
the Summer Games following China's crackdown on Tibetan protests.

He told French television in an interview that aired Monday that
France has been pushing for talks between Tibet's exiled spiritual
leader and the Chinese government.

Mr. Sarkozy said there has been progress in talks and he could attend
the Olympics if more headway is made. His decision will be announced next week.

Senior envoys of Tibet's government-in-exile, Lodi Gyari and Kelsang
Gyaltsen, arrived in Beijing Monday for two days of talks with
Chinese officials.

A spokesperson for the India-based exile government said the Tibetan
delegation will begin holding talks on Tuesday.

Spokesman Tenzin Taklha says the talks are a positive step, adding
that they will give the delegation a chance to discuss its views on
issues such as Tibet's status within China.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for the
mountainous region. The exiled spiritual leader says he only wants
greater religious and cultural autonomy for his people.

The envoys of Tibet's government-in-exile last met with Chinese
officials in May. Talks set for June were postponed because of the
massive May 12 earthquake in China's Sichuan province.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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