Pelosi wants Bush to skip Olympics opening

Washington: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who raised the hackles of the Chinese government by meeting the Dalai Lama on her recent India trip, wants US President George W. Bush to skip the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics this summer to protest events in Tibet. But she does not want the US to boycott the Games.

In a TV talk show, Pelosi asked President George W. Bush to stay away from the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics this summer without any US boycott of the Games as such.

The Games should go on, she told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, stressing: “There’s a difference between that (opening) ceremony and the actual athletic events.”

The White House has ruled out Bush’s staying away from the Olympics saying this grand event was about athletics, not politics.

Pelosi has also asked the Chinese government to negotiate with the Dalai Lama on Tibetan autonomy.

“I myself am personally calling once again on the Chinese government to join, to sustain negotiations with His Holiness for a peaceful outcome to what is happening in Tibet for their autonomy,” she said on Tuesday in a statement about her visit to India.

Asking Beijing “to immediately have independent outside monitors to review what happened in Tibet,” Pelosi said: “As fate would have it, when we planned out trip, we really didn’t realise what would be happening following March 10 (anniversary of the uprising against Chinese rule) in Tibet.”
The US Congressional delegation only planned to visit the Tibetan spiritual leader living in exile in India “to pay our respects to him, to join in his ongoing call for negotiations with the Chinese government for autonomy for Tibet”, she said.

“Again, as fate would have it on March 10, the 49th anniversary of the Chinese driving His Holiness the Dalai Lama out of China, the protests there were met by a crackdown of the Chinese government, so we were there at a time when again, it was our fate to be there, and our fate to help,” Pelosi said.

The Chinese government were calling the Dalai Lama–“a person who is the personification of non-violence”– “the instigator of violence”, she said, demanding: “They must have medical care brought in for those who have been deprived of it, to free those in prison who have been arrested for peacefully protesting”.

State Department spokesman Tom Casey hoped that the latest Chinese statements about the Dalai Lama’s alleged involvement in some kind of suicide plot did not mean China would refuse all US calls for a dialogue.

“Certainly, we think it’s appropriate for Chinese officials to engage in dialogue and discussion with the Dalai Lama,” he told reporters. “And hopefully, this won’t be the last word from the Chinese government with respect to him.

“He is an individual who has always acted in the best interests of his community. He’s an individual who is a man of peace and someone who supports a non-violent process of dialogue and discussion to resolve these issues,” Casey said.

Pelosi’s team ‘learned a lot’ from Indian visit

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi says the Congressional delegation “learned a lot” on its recent trip to India on how the two countries could work together to tackle global warming.

“That is important…not only to our environment, but to our national security,” she said Tuesday in a statement on the trip noting that “in India, we were greeted at the highest level” by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The purpose of the trip, she said, “was to see how we could work together with India, a country with 400 million people who are without electricity, but nonetheless having a major responsibility as a rapidly developing country on this important issue” of global warming.

The delegation also met R.K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former US vice president Al Gore last year.

He took them “through what was happening in the non-profit sector in terms of renewable energy resources, bringing light to one billion Indians by using solar and other renewables”.

The Congressmen also “met with leaders in New Delhi and Mumbai, who were in the lead on the issue of global warming, whether it was through their initiatives in transportation, buildings, renewables, and the rest,” Pelosi said, adding: “We learned a lot on our trip”.

Source: Indo-Asian News Service