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NEWS - Nobel Laureates Urge China t

Subject: NEWS - Nobel Laureates Urge China to Open Tibet Talks

Nobel Laureates Urge China to Open Tibet Talks


            CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Nov 6 (Reuters) - Seven Nobel
            Peace Prize laureates, including the Dalai Lama, urged
            China on Friday to open formal talks "to find a peaceful
            resolution to the Tibet issue." 

            Chinese President Jiang Zemin earlier this year offered to
            enter into talks on the condition that the Dalai Lama
            recognise Taiwan and Tibet, which was invaded by
            Communist Chinese troops in 1950, as parts of China. 

            "I'm not seeking independence. I am seeking autonomous
            self-rule," the Dalai Lama said on the closing day of a
            two-day conference on peace and reconciliation at the
            University of Virginia in Charlottesville, a college town in
            central Virginia. 

            The Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile since 1959 and
            received the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for a plan that would
            make Tibet an international peace zone, declined to
            comment on whether he had accepted the Chinese view that
            the Himalayan region has always been part of China. 

            "Now is not the time for me to speak," he said. 

            The Dalai Lama has renounced Tibetan independence as a
            goal for the future, and on Friday he said Tibetans would
            demand control over foreign affairs and defence if a system
            of autonomous self-rule could be negotiated with China. 

            John Ackerly, president of the Washington-based
            International Campaign for Tibet, said on Wednesday the
            Dalai Lama might offer a gesture to accelerate talks with
            Chinese government during his nine-day visit to the United

            The Dalai Lama expects to meet President Bill Clinton at the
            White House early next week and may ask the U.S.
            administration to find out what the Chinese would offer in
            return if he makes a concession, Ackerly said. 

            In a joint statement, the Nobel laureates reaffirmed their
            commitment to peace, human rights and reconciliation
            worldwide and included an expression of support for Tibet. 

            "We urge that the Chinese government enter into
            negotiations that will serve the interests of the Tibetan
            Chinese peoples. Also, that these negotiations be conducted
            expeditiously as an indication of China's good will and
            sincere intent," the statement said. 

            Besides the Dalai Lama, the signing peace prize winners
            were land-mine opponent Jody Williams; Jose Ramos-Horta,
            a campaigner for East Timorese independence;
            indigenous-rights defender Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala;
            democrat and former Costa Rican President Oscar
            Arias-Sanchez; apartheid foe Archbishop Desmond Tutu of
            South Africa; and Northern Ireland peace activist Betty

            A representative of the absent Nobel laureate Aung San Suu
            Kyi, leader of Myanmar's political opposition, and Bobby
            Muller, co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban
            Landmines, also signed the statement.