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Britain Calls for End to Tibet Violence; Will Host Dalai Lama


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he has told China's premier that the violence in Tibet must stop and he says he plans to meet with the Dalai Lama when Tibet's exiled leader visits London later this year. Mr. Brown says the Chinese premier has opened the door to direct talks with the Dalai Lama. Tendai Maphosa has more on the story from London.

Speaking before parliament, Prime Minister Brown said he spoke by phone with Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao on Wednesday.

"I made it absolutely clear that there had to be an end to violence in Tibet," he said. "I also called for constraint and I called for an end to the violence by dialogue between the different parties. The premier told me that subject to two things that the Dalai Lama has already said, that he does not support the total independence of Tibet and that he renounces violence that he [Jiabao] will be prepared to enter into dialogue with the Dalai Lama. I will meet the Dalai Lama when he is in London."

Mr. Brown has been under pressure to meet with the Dalai Lama even though such talks might upset China with whom Britain has an important trading relationship.

The Chinese government has blamed the Dalai Lama for stoking the pro-independence sentiment and unrest that erupted in the region last week - a charge the Dalai Lama denies.

The Tibetan spiritual leader has called for an end to the violence and for talks between the Chinese authorities and his government in exile.

Mr. Brown's comment follows Foreign Secretary David Miliband's expression of concern over events in Tibet on Tuesday. In a local Radio interview, Miliband called for restraint on all sides, adding that substantive dialogue is the only way forward.

In a rare show of consensus with Prime Minister Brown, opposition conservative party leader, David Cameron, welcomed Mr. Brown's decision to meet with the Dalai Lama.

"Can I congratulate the prime minister on making absolutely the right decision with regard to the Dalai Lama, this is a difficult decision but it wouldn't have made any better by delaying it," he said.

The Tibet protests are happening as China prepares to host the Olympic Games this summer. There have been some calls to boycott the Games over the Chinese crackdown in Tibet as well as over other reported human rights abuses in China. The Dalai Lama has said he does not support a boycott and Chinese authorities said the Olympic torch would pass through Tibet, as scheduled, as it makes its way around the world ahead of the Games.

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