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Archive for Sunday, May 4, 2008

Dalai Lama aide optimistic about talks

May 4, 2008

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— The Dalai Lama's government-in-exile expressed optimism about upcoming talks with Chinese officials, but cautioned Saturday not to expect too much from the first meeting between the two sides since violent anti-government protests erupted in Tibet.

Talks were scheduled to begin today and last for a day or two in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, which neighbors Hong Kong, said Samdhong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile based in Dharmsala, India.

"We are positive that something good will come out of it," Rinpoche told The Associated Press.

Two of the Dalai Lama's representatives planned to push for peace in Tibetan areas of China and address Beijing's accusations that the spiritual leader has been masterminding the recent unrest, he told a public rally in Dharmsala.

But Rinpoche added afterward: "Our hopes are high, but this is just a small step in a long process."

China's official Xinhua News Agency confirmed that two senior Communist Party officials would meet the Tibetan envoys today. The brief Xinhua report did not say where the officials would meet for what it called "contacts and consultations."

The Tibetan government-in-exile has called the meetings "informal talks with representatives of the Chinese leadership."

Thubten Samphal, a spokesman for the exiled government, has said talks would not be formal because "we cannot do business as usual when the situation in Tibet is so grave."

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