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President Obama sends delegation to meet Dalai Lama in Dharamsala

September 15, 2009

ICT press statement, September 14, 2009

The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama today confirmed that discussions
between the Dalai Lama and a senior US Government delegation took place in
Dharamsala on September 13 and 14. The delegation was led by Valerie
Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental
Affairs and Public Engagement, and included Maria Otero, Under Secretary of
State for Democracy and Global Affairs (designated to serve concurrently as
Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues) and other US Government officials.

According to a statement posted on the official website of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama (http://www.dalailama.com/news/432/htm), Ms. Jarrett personally
conveyed the commitment of President Obama "to support the Tibetan people in
protecting their distinct religious, linguistic, and cultural heritage and
securing respect for their human rights and civil liberties" as well as the
US President's commendation for the Dalai Lama's consistency in seeking
genuine autonomy for Tibetans within the People's Republic of China through
his middle way approach."

A senior aide within the Dalai Lama's office said: "Ms. Jarrett had
expressed President Obama's wish for an enduring relationship with His
Holiness and, additionally, for building a strong U.S.-China relationship.
In this way the United States would be in a better position to seek progress
in the dialogue, improvements in human rights and other improvements in the
lives of Tibetans."

The statement also revealed that President Obama and the Dalai Lama would
meet in Washington, DC after the US-China Summit in November.

The same senior aide said, "Taking into considerations the broader issues,
it was decided sometime ago that the meeting between His Holiness and
President Obama should take place after President Obama's discussions in
Beijing."

According to Lodi Gyari, Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, "His
Holiness has shared with the US delegation his views about how the President
can help the Tibetan people and he would value an opportunity to hear
directly from the President about what transpired during the Beijing summit
with regard to Tibet. I have the Dalai Lama's schedule for the remainder of
the year and will work with the White House on a meeting date."

Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, the head of the Central Tibetan Administration,
who also met with the US delegation, said, "This has been an important
visit, as it demonstrates President Obama's great admiration for the
leadership and approach of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and his respect for
the Tibetan Buddhist culture. We are most appreciative that they have
traveled so far to personally convey these messages to His Holiness and the
Tibetan people."
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