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US favours Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal

November 8, 2009

November 6, 2009

Dharamsala, Nov 6 -- A top United States official
on Friday maintained that the exiled Tibetan
leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama was free to go
anywhere as a religious figure, according to a media report.

"The Dalai Lama is a religious leader and he, of
course, can travel to carry out that role," PTI
quoted US Under Secretary of State for Democracy
and Global Affairs Maria Otero, as saying in New Delhi.

Otero was appointed as US government's new
Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues in
October, a role in which she is expected to
promote dialogue between between China and representatives of the Dalai Lama.

"He (Dalai Lama) is visiting a monastery, a holy
place. And from our perspective, this is one of
the roles that he plays," she said when asked
about her reaction to China's protests over the
Tibetan leader's visit to Tawang from Sunday.

Speaking about US President Barack Obama's
scheduled visit China later this month, Otero
said that Tibet would certainly be one of the
issues that will be discussed with the Chinese leaders.

"One could sense that this issue (Tibet) could be
under consideration in some of those meetings
with China," she said when asked if Tibet issues
would be taken up during Obama's impending visit.

"But again, I cannot absolutely confirm how it is
or what it is, but there is no doubt that this is
an issue that we have. I certainly have been
addressing it. I think that probably something ill emerge," Otero said.

"Tibet is very much symbolised by Dalai Lama. He
is a person highly revered in the US and highly
regarded as a religious leader. President Obama
has a lot of respect and consideration for the Dalai Lama," she added.

"The meeting between President Obama and the
Dalai Lama will take place later in this year,
which the latter accepted with full interest. No
dates are established right now," Otero said.

China has strongly opposed the exiled Tibetan
leader's visit to Arunchal Pradesh beginning Sunday.

Rejecting Beijing's objections to the Tibetan
leader's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, Indian
leaders have said, "Dalai Lama is free to visit anywhere in India."

The Indian government, however, on Thursday
reportedly refused to allow foreign journalists
to cover the Dalai Lama's visit to the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
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