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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Exiled Tibetan PM to visit US, Canada, Germany

June 27, 2002

DHARAMSALA, India 27 June, 2002 (AFP) - Tibet's prime minister in exile is to visit the United States, Canada and Germany starting next week, officials said.

It will be the first foreign visit by Samdhong Rinpoche, who is based in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala, since he was elected in September last year.

He leaves India on June 30 and will spend two days in Germany where he will meet Tibetan supporters, his office said Wednesday.

He will also meet with Tibetans in New York, Washington and Toronto during his 10-day visit to North America beginning July 4.

On July 6, he will be in New York to join celebrations for the 67th birthday of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader.

He is also likely to meet with the special coordinator for Tibetan issues in the US State Department, Paula Dobriansky.

Earlier this year Dobriansky made a call for dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama, which was rejected by Beijing.

He is also expected to campaign for the US Congress to pass the Tibet Policy Act, which aims to protect Tibetan cultural traditions and would require that Tibet be listed as a separate section from China in US government publications.

Rinpoche became the first directly elected prime minister of the exiled government after polling 85 percent of the total votes cast by Tibetans in exile.

The Dalai Lama and his followers fled to India after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. India is home to some 100,000 Tibetans.

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