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EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering will not attend Olympic Games opening ceremony
EP[Wednesday, July 09, 2008 20:09]
Strasbourg, July 9 - The President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, has noted with great regret that the meetings between the envoys of the Dalai Lama - Mr Lodi Gyari and Mr Kelsang Gyaltsen - and the Chinese authorities at the beginning of July in Beijing have not led to any result concerning Tibet; as indicated in a press release from the Dalai Lama's envoys.

President Pöttering recalled the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 10 April 2008, with regard to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on 8 August which calls for "the option of non-attendance, in the event that there is no resumption of dialogue between the Chinese authorities and His Holiness the Dalai Lama."

Hans-Gert Pöttering added:
"Given that these talks have to date proved inconclusive, I have decided not to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

"But I very much hope that the dialogue between the envoys of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities will soon be pursued in a constructive way aimed at achieving results.

The Dalai Lama has always called for non violent protest and has rejected calls for Tibetan independence. He has instead proposed the middle way of cultural autonomy and religious freedom for Tibet and has never questioned China's territorial integrity. He has the full support of the European Parliament for his approach.

We expect that China will respect its own public commitments to human rights and minority rights, announced when the decision to allow China to organise the Games was taken. This is a great opportunity for China to open itself up to the world and to demonstrate that it is committed to internationally-recognised fundamental rights."
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