Pallavi Aiyar

Beijing: The latest round of talks between China and envoys of the Dalai Lama failed to achieve any breakthrough. However, China said an offer for a further round of talks before the end of the year was on the cards as long as the Dalai Lama displayed “positive behaviour.”

China has accused the Dalai Lama of provoking riots in Tibet in March, a charge he denies.

The talks began on Tuesday but were shrouded in secrecy for the length of their duration. Beijing did not confirm either the location or timing of the deliberations. On Thursday, the official Xinhua news agency announced that Du Qinglin, head of the Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, which deals with ethnic minorities and religious groups, had “met with private representatives of the 14th Dalai Lama here recently.”

The report said Mr. Du told the two representatives of the Dalai Lama, Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, that while “the door of dialogue is always open,” the Dalai Lama should “openly and explicitly promise and prove in his action not to support activity to disturb the Beijing Olympic Games” while concretely curbing the “violent terrorist activities of the Tibetan Youth Congress.”

This week’s talks were the second closed-door meeting between the two sides since riots broke out in Lhasa earlier this year.

Official Chinese media continued to criticise the Dalai Lama even while the dialogue was taking place. Xinhua carried a piece on Thursday that accused the “Dalai coterie” of a conspiracy aimed at sabotaging the Olympics and seeking Tibetan independence.

The exiled spiritual leader has repeatedly said he is desirous of greater autonomy for Tibet rather than independence.

He has also come out in explicit support of the Olympic Games.

In a related development, Chinese media made a strong statement against French President Nicolas Sarkozy who has said his decision on whether to attend the Beijing Olympics would be based on progress in the Tibet talks. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Tibet was a domestic issue and that the Games should not be politicised.

Meanwhile, a lead article in the English language China Daily announced that the “Chinese people do not want French President Nicolas Sarkozy to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics,” citing an Internet survey by Sina.com, a popular local website.