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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Tibetan Government congratulates Obama on presidential victory

November 6, 2008

Phayul [Wednesday, November 05, 2008 19:22]

By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamshala: Kelsang Yangkyi Takla, kalon (minister) for the 
Department of Information and International Relations of the Tibetan 
Government-in-exile on Wednesday congratulated the president-elect 
Barack Obama on winning the historic election to the post of president 
of the United States.

Barack Obama last met the Dalai Lama in 2005 at a Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee event (File photo)
Barack Obama last met the Dalai Lama in 2005 at a Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee event (File photo)
In her congratulatory message, the Tibetan minister expressed her wish 
that Mr Barack Obama's courage and wisdom will guide the United States 
to peace and prosperity.

Kalon Takla expressed her hope that under the president-elect Barack 
Obama, the United States will continue to enjoy peace and prosperity.

She raised hope that given the United States' strong advocacy of human 
rights and freedom, the administration under Mr Obama leadership will 
continue to extend the same support for the people of Tibet.

In July this year, at the height of his presidential campaign, Obama 
sent a letter to the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama 
to assure him of his highest respect and support for the cause of Tibet.

"I will continue to support you and the rights of Tibetans. People of 
all faiths can admire what you are doing and what you stand for," 
Obama wrote in the letter.

Expressing regret that their respective travel schedules did not 
permit a meeting during the Tibetan leader's the then visit to the 
U.S., Obama wrote: "I look forward to meeting you at another time".

"I hope that this letter and your meeting with Senator McCain will 
make clear that American attention to and backing for the people of 
Tibet is widespread and transcends the divisions of our political 
contest in this important election year," he wrote.

In the letter, he said, "The right to practice their religious beliefs 
without punishment or obstruction is one that should be accorded the 
people of Tibet, and I will continue to encourage the Chinese 
government to put aside its suspicions and act in accordance with its 
own Constitution."

This was not Obama's first statement regarding Tibet or the Dalai Lama.

In a foreign policy address delivered in March, this U.S. Senate 
Foreign Relations Committee member said that the advancement of human 
rights must be a central U.S. priority. And he pointedly declared, "We 
can start now by speaking out for the human rights and religious 
freedom of the people of Tibet."

Around the same time, Obama announced, "If Tibetans are to live in 
harmony with the rest of China's people, their religion and culture 
must be respected and protected. Tibet should enjoy genuine and 
meaningful autonomy."

Before the San Francisco leg of the torch relay this year, Barack 
Obama issued a statement in which he joined calls for President George 
W. Bush to consider a boycott of the opening ceremonies of the Beijing 
games if the "Chinese do not take steps to help stop the genocide in 
Darfur and to respect the dignity, security, and human rights of the 
Tibetan people".

Before the games, when asked whether he, as president, would convey 
legitimacy on the Chinese government's actions in Tibet by attending 
the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, Obama said, "In the 
absence of some sense of progress, in the absence of some sense from 
the Dalai Lama that there was progress, I would not have gone."

In September this year, while outlining his proposed China policies, 
Barack Obama argued that the protection of human rights in China and 
Tibet "Will not weaken China as its leaders may fear, but will provide 
long term stability and prosperity ... Protection of the unique 
cultural and religious traditions of the Tibetan people is an integral 
part of such an agenda."

Obama last met the Dalai Lama in 2005 at a Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee event.

Barack Obama won a decisive victory Tuesday, becoming the first black 
president in U.S. history. He is expected to take office as the forty-
fourth President of the United States on January 20, 2009.
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