Wen Plays Precondition Card, His Holiness Firm on Genuine Autonomy
Rome, Italy, 26 November 2003: His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Rome yesterday afternoon. Among those who welcomed His Holiness at the Rome Airport were Mr. Gianni Vernetti, MP, President of the Italian Parliamentary Group for Tibet, Representatives of the Indian Embassy in Rome and the Gorbachev Foundation. A crowd of well-wishers including Tibetans accorded a warm welcome in front of the Hotel where His Holiness is staying.
Later in the day, His Holiness granted interviews to two of the major newspapers of Italy, Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica.
His Holiness outlined his three commitments, namely, to promote human values, to foster closer and better understanding among various religions and to explain non-violent freedom struggle of the Tibetan people.
His Holiness reiterated that he is not seeking independence for Tibet, saying that his Middle Way approach is based on the statement of the late Deng Xiaoping that except for the independence of Tibet all other questions could be discussed and resolved.
His Holiness was responding to questions by one of the interviewers to recent remarks by the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on preconditions for negotiations on the issue of Tibet. Wen had earlier told Washington Post that His Holiness has not genuinely given up the fight for independence and that the doors to negotiations are open if the preconditions for talks are fulfilled.
Emphasising his commitment to genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the framework of the People’s Republic of China, His Holiness pointed out that his spirit of Middle Way approach was developed around 1973/1974, well before Deng Xiaoping’s proposal.
His Holiness stated that many Chinese students and scholars with whom he had the opportunity to discuss the issue of Tibet have expressed their support and appreciation for Middle Way approach. He said he is therefore optimistic that the existing differences of opinions could be overcome through continuation of the recent contacts between his envoys and the Chinese leadership. His Holiness welcomed the recent renewal of direct contacts with Beijing and stressed on the need to continue this process to build trust and confidence.
A report sent by Office of Tibet, Geneva