By Tenzin Sangmo
New Delhi, Jul 1 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics will depend on what the seventh round of talks between the Dalai Lama's representatives and Chinese officials will yield.
"I think that if it were to progress further and that both the Dalai Lama and the Chinese president recognized the progress then the obstacle to my participation (in the opening ceremony) would disappear," he said on an interview to French state television yesterday.
"I am expecting a lot from it," he further added.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Special Envoy Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen arrived in China Monday for two days' discussion with representatives of the Chinese leadership. They are accompanied by Senior Assistants Sonam N. Dagpo and Bhuchung K. Tsering both members of the Tibetan Task Force on Sino-Tibetan Negotiations and Jigmey Pasang from the Secretariat of the Tibetan Task Force, the office of the Dalai Lama said Monday in a press statement.
Sarkozy had earlier hinted he might stay away from the opening ceremony of the Olympics following China's frightful crackdown on Tibet after the March unrest.
France has today taken over the rotating EU presidency from Slovenia for the next six months. Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel presented his French equal with a relay baton and an EU flag at a ceremony in Slovenia.
Sarkozy has been pressured by pro-Tibet activists to boycott the opening ceremony of the Summer Games with EU members urging he should represent Europe there and amend ties with China following the disruption at the Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay and the apparent fall out where Chinese nationalists boycotted French giant Carrefour protesting against the supermarket chain across Chinese cities.
The French President has said that he will announce his decision next week.