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Hong Kong authorities, protesters hold first official talks

October 21, 2014, 17:03 UTC+3 BEIJING
Five Hong Kong government representatives and five students of the Occupy Central movement attended the meeting to discuss the constitutional reform and universal suffrage in the 2017 elections
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© AP Photo/Kin Cheung

BEIJING, October 21. /TASS/. Hong Kong officials held on Tuesday the first formal consultations with the students taking part in the 23-day long pro-democracy protests in the special administrative region, the Xinhua news agency has reported.

Five Hong Kong government representatives and five students of the Occupy Central movement attended the meeting to discuss the constitutional reform and universal suffrage in the 2017 elections.

Opening the talks, Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said the government respects the students’ persistence in their pursue for democracy, which “should be sought for in a legal, fair and reasonable approach.”

Lam said she hopes the students will urge the protesters to disperse in an effort to help solve disputes over the constitutional reform.

Media reports said the territory's chief executive Leung Chun-ying said at the talks that there is room to make the nominating committee “more democratic,” in a first concession to the protesters who have blocked the streets for weeks.

The student-led protests, dubbed the Umbrella Revolution, are demanding reforms on how Beijing vets Hong Kong candidates for elections in 2017 as well as the resignation of the current leader.

Beijing offered Hong Kong citizens in August to vote for their own leader in 2017, but said that no more than three candidates could run and need to be first approved by a nominating committee.

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