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Powell Meets Dalai Lama, White House Visit Scheduled Wednesday

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and other top State Department officials met late Tuesday with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The Nobel Peace Laureate visits the White House Wednesday and is expected to see President Bush.

The Dalai Lama spent about a half-hour with Mr. Powell in a meeting that also included Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky, the administration's coordinator for Tibet, and Assistant Secretary for East Asian Affairs James Kelly.

The Tibetan leader paused only briefly afterward to talk to waiting reporters, saying that he had gotten a "sympathetic" hearing from Mr. Powell, with whom he has met before.

The Dalai Lama was asked by reporters how the meeting went with Mr. Powell. "Very good," replied. "Like, I think, a reunion, since I know him. He's always very sympathetic, so [it was] a very good conversation."

The Dalai Lama's visit comes at a high point in U.S.-Chinese relations based on, among other things, bilateral cooperation on the North Korean nuclear issue. The State Department reiterated Monday it considers Tibet part of China. It also welcomed the renewal of contacts between Chinese leaders and envoys of the Dalai Lama after several years of political impasse.