Washington, D.C. – The International Campaign for Tibet welcomes the announcement of a fourth round of talks between envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese Government officials. The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama announced on July 1, 2005 that the Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and his colleague Kelsang Gyaltsen have concluded a meeting with Chinese officials in the Swiss capital of Bern.

“The International Campaign for Tibet and Tibet supporters around the world are watching for real progress to result from these talks. There is no doubt that His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his envoys are making sincere efforts to find a negotiated solution for Tibet, but the Chinese side has yet to clarify its commitment to this process,” said Mary Beth Markey, Executive Director of the International Campaign for Tibet.

Contact was re-established between the Tibetan and Chinese sides in September, 2002 when the Dalai Lama’s envoys had meetings with officials in China and Tibet. The most recent meetings occurred in China and Tibet in September, 2004. The Tibetans characterized the nature of the meetings so far as “confidence-building” opportunities.

“ICT notes with interest that the venue of this meeting is in the Chinese Embassy in the Swiss Capital, Bern,” said Markey. “A third country venue appropriately reflects the tremendous support of the international community for resolving the Tibetan issue and may indicate that China is interested in raising the profile of the dialogue.” Markey concluded.

The United States government has repeatedly declared its support for substantive discussions between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama or his representatives. In its most recent “Report on Negotiations” issued in April 2005, the State Department made public repeated efforts by the President, Secretary of State and other senior U.S. officials to promote a negotiated solution for Tibet. According to the report:

“Encouraging substantive dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama is an important objective on this Administration. The United States encourages China and the Dalai Lama to hold substantive discussions aimed at resolution of difference at an early date, without preconditions. We have consistently asserted that any questions surrounding Tibet and its relationship to Chinese authorities should be resolved by direct dialogue between the Tibetans and the Chinese. The Administration believes that dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives will alleviate tensions in Tibetan regions of China”

The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959, after an uneasy arrangement between the Chinese and Tibetan governments broke down and culminated in a popular uprising in Lhasa. Beijing continues to violate the human rights of Tibetans and to withhold from them right to live according to their own traditions and aspirations.

ICT urges the United States and other governments to continue to support the widespread desire among Tibetans for a negotiated solution.