German Chancellor Says China Should Talk to Dalai Lama བོད་སྐད།

German Chancellor Merkel urged Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to restart talks with the Dalai Lama and offered German assistance in smoothing relations between the government in Beijing and Tibet’s spiritual leader.

Angela Merkel on Thursday called on China to hold talks with Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. ''We talked about the situation in Tibet and from the German side, I emphasized that we have a common interest that talks with the Dalai Lama get underway,'' said Merkel at a joint news conference with China' Premier Wen Jiabao.

Mr Wen was on his first European trip since Beijing put off a planned summit with the EU in December in protest at French President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to meet the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader.

Chancellor Merkel said Germany was prepared to help with that process. Relations between Germany and China have improved since a spat 2007 when Merkel met the Dalai Lama at her office in Berlin. The Chancellor held talks with the Chinese premier when she visited China in October last year to take part in the biannual Asia-Europe Meeting in Beijing.

About 50 demonstrators gathered outside the chancellery in central Berlin waving 'Free Tibet' banners, with another 30 people demonstrating on behalf of the banned Chinese spiritual group Falun Gong

The one-day stop in Germany is the second stage of a European tour that took the Chinese leader to Switzerland for the World Economic Forum in Davos, and will see him travel to Spain and Britain.

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