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Obama Aide Meets With Dalai Lama in India

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A high-level delegation representing U.S. President Barack Obama has met with the Dalai Lama ahead of the Tibetan spiritual leader's scheduled trip to the United States next month.

The group met Monday at the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser and assistant to the president, led the U.S. delegation.

A spokesman with the U.S. National Security Council said Mr. Obama wanted to convey his respect for the Dalai Lama as a religious leader and representative of Tibetan culture.

The spokesman said Jarrett heard the Dalai Lama's ideas about how Tibetan identity can be preserved, and his commitment to dialogue with China.  He said the Tibetan spiritual leader repeated his position that he does not seek independence for Tibet.

China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist and disapproves of him meeting with foreign governments.   

The Dalai Lama's office said in a statement that Jarrett reiterated President Obama's commitment to support the Tibetan people in protecting their distinct heritage and securing respect for their civil liberties.

The Dalai Lama has said he hopes to see Mr. Obama when he visits New York and Washington October 4-9.

Jarrett and the senior U.S. diplomat accompanying her, State Department Undersecretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero, are the highest-level U.S. officials to visit the Tibetan center in India's Himalayan region since March 2008.  The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, traveled to Dharamsala last year just weeks after major protests in Tibet and a crackdown there by Chinese authorities.

Jarrett and Otero met with the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Samdhong Rinpoche, on Sunday, but no details of their talks were released.

 

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