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Obama, Dalai Lama meeting probably won't be public

February 18, 2010

By FOSTER KLUG
The Associated Press (AP)
February 17, 2010

WASHINGTON -- The Dalai Lama's chief envoy said
Tuesday that President Barack Obama probably
won't make a public appearance this week with the
Tibetan spiritual leader during a White House
visit that is already infuriating China.

A joint appearance by Obama and the Dalai Lama
before reporters could make tense U.S.-China ties
even worse and further complicate U.S. efforts to
secure Chinese help in settling North Korean and
Iranian nuclear standoffs and crucial economic,
military and environmental issues.

Still, Lodi Gyari said Thursday's meeting in the
White House between the Nobel Peace laureates
would be an important boost for Tibet and for the
broader U.S. commitment to human rights.

The Dalai Lama, who has met with every U.S.
president for the last two decades, is a
recurring thorn in U.S.-Chinese ties. China
accuses him of pushing for Tibetan independence —
something he has repeatedly denied — and
considers meetings between the monk and foreign
leaders to be an infringement on Chinese sovereignty.

This week's meeting follows a tense couple of
months in what the Obama administration has
called the world's most important relationship,
highlighted by the recent U.S. announcement of a
$6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the
self-governing democratic island Beijing claims as its own.

Former President George W. Bush appeared at the
public presentation in 2007 of a Congressional
Gold Medal Award to the Dalai Lama, but
presidential meetings with the Dalai Lama have
typically been held away from reporters, often in
the White House's private residences.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters
Tuesday that he didn't know if Obama and the
Dalai Lama would make a televised appearance after their meeting.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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