Berlin, April 25 - Germany's government welcomed Friday Beijing's offer of dialogue on Tibet with emissaries of the Dalai Lama. Martin Jaeger, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, said China had alerted Germany before the move.
"We expressly welcome this step," he said, adding that Berlin hoped it contributed to a resolution of the conflict in Tibet.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had telephoned his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi three times in recent weeks about the issue and pressed for a dialogue, Jaeger added.
Praise also came Friday from Roland Koch, the premier of the state of Hesse, one of Germany's most prominent backers of the Dalai Lama. He described the move as "an important and hopeful sign."
"It shows that what is said by way of world public opinion is taken seriously by the Chinese government," he said.
Michael Vesper, director general of the German Olympic sports association DOSB, said, "This is exactly the right way to deal with this problem. The Olympic principle is peaceful dialogue."