US lauds Dalai envoys’ meeting with Chinese officials

Agence France Presse

Washington, July 2:

The United States yesterday welcomed a meeting between Tibetan envoys of the Dalai Lama and Chinese officials in Bern, saying it was encouraged by the continuing contact between the two sides. “The United States is pleased that the Dalai Lama’s Special Envoys met Chinese officials in Bern, Switzerland, through June 29-30,” State Department Sean McCormack said in a statement. “We are encouraged that the dialogue has been maintained,” said McCormack, adding that it was the fourth meeting since the two sides renewed contact in September 2002. “The United States continues to urge China’s leadership to engage in substantive discussions with the Dalai Lama or his representatives to resolve longstanding differences,” McCormack said. “We follow these visits closely and we expect they will lead to progress.”

Five Tibetan representatives met Chinese officials at China’s embassy in the Swiss capital, Bern, as part of the ongoing contacts between the two sides, the Dalai Lama’s office said in a statement. “We look forward to hearing more about this round of talks and hope this meeting provides a foundation for future discussions and progress,” McCormack said. Direct ties between the Dalai Lama and Beijing collapsed in 1993. They were renewed in 2002. Since then China and Tibetan representatives have met four times to discuss a possible return of Tibetan exiles as well as the question of autonomy for Tibet, in line with a pledge Beijing offered a year after it invaded the region in 1950.