France supports dialogue between China and Dalai Lama
Sarkozy tells senior Chinese envoy that opening of dialogue will help defuse tensions over Tibet.18 April 2008
PARIS - President Nicolas Sarkozy told a senior Chinese envoy on Friday that France supported the opening of a dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama to defuse tensions over Tibet.
Sarkozy discussed the recent violence in Tibet with Zhao Jinjun, the special representative of Chinese President Hu Jintao and a former Chinese ambassador to France, said a statement from the French presidency.
"The president renewed France's call for reopening dialogue between representatives of the Dalai Lama and Chinese authorities," said the statement.
Sarkozy earlier this month said he was ready to boycott the 8 August opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics unless China starts a dialogue with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.
The statement added that France and China would continue holding talks in the coming days "within the framework of a Sino-French strategic partnership that both sides want to deepen".
The talks were held amid tension between France and China following the chaotic Olympic torch relay in Paris that saw human rights activists and pro-Tibet supporters take to the streets to protest Beijing's human rights record.
Calls have circulated on the Internet and via mobile phones in China for a boycott of French goods and organisations since the Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay was disrupted last week by pro-Tibetan protests.
[AFP / Expatica]