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Obama should pursue significant action on Tibet at Beijing summit

November 13, 2009

International Campaign for Tibet
ICT Press Release
November 10, 1009

President Barack Obama should pursue an agreement
from Chinese President Hu for significant action
on Tibet during the US-China summit, the
International Campaign for Tibet said in a letter
to President Obama released today.

"If by not meeting [in October 2009] with His
Holiness [the Dalai Lama] you intended to signal
to General Secretary and President Hu Jintao that
you expect an equally significant action from the
Chinese government, there are a number of
specific objectives that should be pursued,"
according to the letter from the ICT Board of Directors.

The letter urges President Obama to pursue two
specific initiatives at the summit:

An offer of third party assistance to the Chinese
government and representatives of the Dalai Lama
in defining a common goal for their dialogue, and
An invitation for the Dalai Lama to visit China.

In its first 10 months in office, the Obama
Administration has made statements indicating a
desire for meaningful results in the
Tibetan-Chinese dialogue. It has also expressed
its interest in new, creative approaches to
resolve intractable issues, such as Tibet.
Observers will be watching to see whether the
President uses the opportunity of the US-China
summit to rise to the challenge that his administration has set for itself.

In September, President Obama sent his Senior
Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Under Secretary of
State and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues
Maria Otero to Dharamsala, India, to confer with
the Dalai Lama. It was subsequently revealed that
the President and the Dalai Lama would meet
sometime after the summit in November, and that
the Dalai Lama "would value an opportunity to
hear directly from the President about what
transpired during the Beijing summit with regard
to Tibet," according to his Special Envoy, Lodi Gyari.

The ICT letter acknowledges the magnanimous
approach that the Dalai Lama took to the
President's proposal that they meet only after
the US-China Summit but aligns itself with the
concern expressed by Vaclav Havel (a member of
the ICT International Council of Advisors) that
what might appear to be a "minor compromise" will
in fact lead to further accommodation. "We have
always believed that America is essential to
progress on Tibet. At the November summit, we
urge you to bring the weight of your high office,
the will of the American people, and your
considerable commitment to human rights,
nonviolence and peace to help move ahead on this
very important issue," the ICT letter, signed by
ICT Board Chairman Richard Gere, concludes.

To read the ICT Board letter to President Obama
regarding the US-China summit, please visit:
http://www.savetibet.org/policy-center/ict-board-letter-president-obama

Press contact:

Kate Saunders
Communications Director, International Campaign for Tibet
email: press@savetibet.org
Tel: + 44 (0) 7947 138612
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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