Wednesday, December 3, 2008

ICT calls for EU Emissary to help resolve Tibet issue

Saying talks with China over Tibet issue has failed to make any progress, a Washington-based pro-Tibet advocacy group has called on the European Union to designate as soon as possible a “high profile European Emissary” to help resolve the issue of Tibet and also put an end to “tensions between China and Europe around Tibetan issues”.

The group’s call comes in the midst of the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama’s ongoing tour of three European countries.

“Such an initiative would be welcome in Europe where the Dalai Lama enjoys overwhelming support for his moral leadership and would be an appropriate outcome of the Dalai Lama's current visit to European countries,” the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said in a statement released Tuesday."

The mandate of an EU Emissary would be to represent the EU Council in engaging with the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama to collect views of both parties, identify the obstacles and suggest concrete recommendations to the EU Council on how to overcome these identified difficulties," ICT’s EU Policy Director Vincent Metten said in the statement.

Metten said that international calls for “results-based dialogue” by the Dalai Lama’s envoys with Chinese leadership had failed to produce progress.

ICT’s statement said Beijing had in fact increased its “anti-Dalai Lama rhetoric” following the latest round of talks between his envoys and the Chinese representatives held last month. The group said that the Chinese government had also “denounced the Sarkozy-Dalai Lama meeting and accused the French of engaging with a 'separatist'.”

“More engaged and substantial assistance is now required, or we will see the failure of an historic effort to achieve a just solution for Tibet through non-violence and dialogue,” Metten said.

Referring to China’s decision to walk away from long-planned Monday summit with the EU towards the last minute due to row over Tibet issue, Mr Metten said such an untoward action by Chinese government only “points to the urgent need to move Tibet from an irritant to a resolvable issue.”

"The people of Europe and their leadership will clearly not abandon the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans, and China feels so strongly about Tibet that it would risk other critical issues scheduled for discussion at the summit,” Metten said, adding “The EU should employ its experience in crisis management and find concrete ways to help the government of China and the Dalai Lama get to a solution."

Lately, the Tibetan leader, now 73, has also said he was losing "faith and trust” in dealing with Chinese leadership on the issue of Tibet. In the absence of any positive response from the Chinese leadership to his “middle-way” policy, the Dalai Lama said Tibetan populace must be prepared to take more active responsibility in deciding the future course of action.

“If the Chinese leadership honestly engages in talks, then I may be in a position to take up this responsibility again. I will, then, sincerely engage with them,” the Dalai Lama said in October at a huge public function in Dharamsala, his exile hometown in northern India.

Called by the Dalai Lama, leading Tibetan exiles from around the world, last month, concluded a first historic summit of its kind to make recommendations on future policy directions for Tibet.

ICT, while mentioning in its statement that the result of the Tibetan exiles’ November meeting has “favored the Dalai Lama's Middle Way approach” of seeking a solution based on genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the People's Republic of China, pointed out the there is also a “growing frustration and solidarity between Tibetans in exile and in Tibet” after demonstrations against Chinese misrule broke out across the Tibetan plateau last spring.

The Dalai Lama arrived in Prague, the capital of Czech Republic, on Saturday to begin a series of high-profile visits in Europe. This is his first tour of Europe since he had to cancel his planned visits to the region in recent months due to health concerns.

On Sunday the Dalai Lama met with the Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and on Tuesday he met with the country’s Foreign Minister Mr. Karel Schwarzenberg at the Foreign Ministry. He is also scheduled to address a plenary of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday. On December 6, at a ceremonial event in Gdansk, Poland, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy is scheduled to meet him.

From Dharamsala the Dalai Lama travels extensively around the world promoting human values, teaching Buddhism and, advocating for Tibetan rights and their struggle for greater freedom. He often meets with world leaders to present the case of Tibet.

The exiled Tibetan leader says he is sincere in his effort to seek a “real and meaningful” autonomy for Tibetan people within China, and opposes the use of violence.

But China, which sent military troops to occupy Tibet in 1949, reviles the Dalai Lama as a “separatist” trying to split Tibet from it, and regularly protests against countries that agree to visits by him or warns world leaders of diplomatic consequences if they meet him.


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