By Phurbu Thinley
The Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari (L) and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen briefing media at Lhakpa Tsering Hall, Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR), Central Tibetan Administration, Dharamsala, India, Thursday, May 8, 2008 (Phayul)
Dharamsala, May 8: A date for the seventh round of Sino-Tibetan dialogue would be finalised soon after mutual consultations, the special envoy of the Dalai Lama said here today.
“A date for the seventh round will be finalised soon after mutual consultations,” Special Envoy Kasur Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari said at the press conference here today.
Mr Gyari was accompanied by Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen during Sunday’s informal talk with Chinese counterparts in Shenzhen, China, where they met with Executive Vice Minister Zhu Weiqun and Vice Minister Sithar of the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party.
The two envoys arrived in India on Tuesday. They gave a briefing to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Prime Minister Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche here in Dharamsala yesterday of the talks.
Mr Gyari today said that the talks, which ended with an agreement to meet again, were a "step in the right direction”. Although no date was set, Mr Gyari said “From the office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we do have some convenient time”.
Mr Gyari maintained that the main purpose of the informal meeting that took place on Sunday was to “discuss the critical situation in Tibet” and described it as an agreed “meeting of principals without aides”.
“There were strong and divergent views on the nature as well as the causes of the recent tragic events in Tibet” and “These views were expressed in a frank and candid manner,” Mr Gyari said of the talks.
He held China’s “wrong policies” in Tibet responsible for the outbreak of unrest in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet.
“On our part we rejected categorically the accusation made against His Holiness the Dalai Lama of instigating the demonstrations and unrest in Tibet. Instead we made it clear that the events in Tibet are the inescapable consequences of wrong policies of the authorities towards the Tibetans, which goes back several decades,” he said.
According to him the recent crisis in Tibet is a “clear symptom of deeply felt grievances and resentment of the Tibetans with these policies”. “The task at hand is to address the legitimate concerns of the Tibetan people in a realistic and constructive way,” he said.
During the talks with Chinese counterpart, Mr Gyari said “each side made some concrete proposals, which can be part of the future agenda” refusing to elaborate the details.
“Despite major differences on important issues both sides demonstrated a willingness to seek common approaches in addressing the issues at hand,” he said referring to the current situation in Tibet. “As a result an understanding was reached to continue the formal round of discussions,” he added.
In spite of the prevailing tense and grave situation in Tibet, Mr Gyrai said the long relationship with Chinese counterparts for the last several years made it possible to “have open and frank discussions in a friendly and respectful atmosphere”.
The two envoys said they put forward a number of concerns to the Chinese counterparts to end repression inside Tibet by addressing the grievances of Tibetan people.
“We have stressed the importance of ending the current repression throughout Tibet. We have called for the release of prisoners, to allow those injured to be given proper medical treatment and give unfettered access to visitors, including the media. We have also called for an end to the "patriotic re-education" campaign which is deeply resented by the Tibetan people,” Mr Gyari said.
“We also rejected the accusation that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is sabotaging the Olympic Games 2008. On the contrary, we made it clear that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has consistently and unambiguously supported the Beijing Olympic Games right from the beginning.”
The Tibetan envoys welcomed the recent statement of President Hu Jintao that his government is "serious" about the dialogue and his acknowledging that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is being "conscientious and serious".
“This statement is encouraging at a time when there is growing skepticism about China's sincerity in resolving the Tibet issue through dialogue,” Mr Gyari said and assured that from the Tibetan side there would be no constraint to work with China to improve the situation in Tibet.
Sunday’s informal meeting was the first face-to-face communication between the two sides since the sixth round of dialogue took place in Beijing in July last year and the first direct discussion after more than seven weeks of anti-China unrest across Tibet since it broke out in Lhasa, Tibet's capital, on March 10.