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EU Ministers Call for Talks Between China, Dalai Lama


European Union foreign ministers have called for an end to violence in Tibet and for China to begin direct talks with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

The 27 ministers, meeting in Slovenia, Saturday urged the sides to hold "substantive and constructive dialogue" to address issues including the preservation of Tibet's language, culture, religion and traditions.

Meanwhile, protesters sympathetic to Tibet demonstrated in Spain, Nepal and Greece Saturday.

More than 2,000 Greek police were deployed to guard the Olympic torch as it made its way through Athens where demonstrators gathered to protest China's human rights record.

The torch is to be handed over to Chinese Olympic officials Sunday.

In Nepal, police detained more than 80 protesters gathered outside a Chinese consular office in the capital of Katmandu.

Several hundred protesters marched on the Chinese Embassy in Madrid.

Friday, U.S. President George W. Bush and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd both urged China to open talks with the Dalai Lama about recent protests in Lhasa and other areas.

Mr. Rudd said during his visit to Washington it is absolutely clear that there are human-rights abuses in Tibet.

Mr. Bush said he had recently spoken by telephone with Chinese President Hu Jintao telling him a dialogue is in China's best interest.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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