Washington: India and the United States on Monday urged China and the Dalai Lama to hold peaceful negotiations to resolve the pro-independence unrest in Tibet with Washington insisting that only dialogue was sustainable in the Himalayan region.

“We have expressed our concern ... about the latest developments. We do hope it will be possible to resolve the issue through peaceful dialogue between the parties concerned,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is here on his maiden bilateral visit, told reporters at a joint press conference after holding talks with the U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, here.

Ms. Rice, who was more forthcoming on the issue, urged China to initiate dialogue with the Dalai Lama as it was the “only policy that is sustainable in Tibet.”

“We believe that the answer for Tibet is to have a more sustainable policy for the Chinese government,” she said.

“I have spoken with my counterpart (Yang Jiechi) about the current situation in which there needs to be restraint, in which violence is not acceptable. But there also needs to be a day after the current events and that really requires a sustained process of dealing with the problems of Tibet and the grievances of Tibet,” Ms. Rice said.

“We believe that the Dalai Lama can play a very favourable role given his belief in non-violence, given his stated position that he does not seek political independence for Tibet, and given his unassailable authoritative moral stature, not just with the people of Tibet but with people from around the world,” Ms. Rice said.

Her comments are the latest from top U.S. politicians who have been urging China to initiate talks with the 72-year-old monk, who is on exile in India since 1959 after a failed armed uprising against the communist rule in Tibet.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday called for “restraint” in Tibet, and offered France as a go-between in any new talks between China and the representatives of the Dalai Lama. A statement from Mr. Sarkozy’s office said he had sent a message to Chinese President Hu Jintao expressing sadness over recent “tragic events” in Tibet. — PTI

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