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White House announces Dalai Lama meeting

July 16, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has invited the Dalai Lama to the White House on Saturday, making time for the Tibetan spiritual leader who is in Washington for an 11-day Buddhist ritual.

The president last met with the Nobel Peace laureate in February 2010. The meeting infuriated Chinese officials. China accuses the Dalai Lama of trying to win Tibetan independence. The spiritual leader says he wants only autonomy.

Employing a low-key approach, the White House has set the meeting in the White House Map Room, not the Oval Office, which is reserved for visiting heads of state.

A White House official said Obama will urge that representatives of the Dalai Lama be allowed to engage with Chinese authorities and will call for the preservation of Tibetan culture.

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