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Merkel, Rudd urge end to China riots

AP, July 07, 2009

BERLIN — Australian Prime Minster Kevin Rudd and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel called Tuesday for a peaceful end to riots in western China’s Xinjiang region that have killed at least 156 people.

Rudd called the reports of violent clashes between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese "disturbing" and urged "the Chinese government and all parties to exercise necessary restraint."

Speaking more broadly, Rudd said China should improve its human rights record, a call he has made in the past.

"There are continuing human rights problems in China," Rudd said.

Merkel said her government hoped China would "establish a peaceful solution to the conflict."

"It must be possible to safeguard the rights of the minority," Merkel said.

Merkel and Rudd also discussed economic reform and climate change policy in their meeting at Merkel’s Berlin office, one day before both were scheduled to attend a G-8 conference in L’Aquila, Italy.

Rudd said developed nations needed to give negotiators a "fresh and expanded mandate" to strike a deal, with just five months remaining until a pact on controlling global carbon emissions is due to be completed.

"We are running out of time," Rudd said.

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