Sarkozy: Attending Olympics Depends on Tibet Talks

Monday, 30 Jun 2008 10:04 PM

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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.

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