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White House Adviser Visits With Dalai Lama

September 15, 2009


NYT - September 14, 2009

BEIJING - A senior adviser to President Obama met the Dalai Lama on Monday
in Dharamsala, in northern India, and discussed the exiled spiritual
leader's views on how to preserve Tibetan identity, a White House spokesman

The adviser, Valerie Jarrett, "conveyed the president's respect" and heard
the Dalai Lama's "commitment to dialogue with the Chinese government, and
that he does not seek independence but rather sees Tibet's future as a part
of China," Mike Hammer, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said
in an e-mail message.

"We think his views deserve our attention, and that of the Chinese
government," he said.

China says the Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising by
Tibetans in 1959, is a separatist leader who should be shunned by countries
that seek good relations with China. His trips overseas routinely provoke
angry rebukes from China.

Chinese officials have urged President Obama not to meet with the Dalai
Lama, but previous American presidents refused similar requests from China.

President Bush met the Dalai Lama several times. In 2007, Mr. Bush praised
him as Congress awarded the Tibetan leader the Congressional Gold Medal, the
highest civilian honor in United States.

Ms. Jarrett was the highest-ranking Washington official to visit the Dalai
Lama in Dharamsala, where he lives, since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
traveled there in March 2008. The Dalai Lama visited the United States in
May and plans to return next month.

The Dalai Lama's office said in a statement that Ms. Jarrett "reiterated
President Obama's commitment to support the Tibetan people in protecting
their distinct religious, linguistic, and cultural heritage and securing
respect for their human rights and civil liberties."

The statement also said that the Dalai Lama, 74, hopes to meet President
Obama after the president visits China in November.

Ms. Jarrett was accompanied by Maria Otero, under secretary of state for
global affairs, who will be the administration's official in charge of the
Tibet issue, aides to the Dalai Lama said.
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