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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."

New US Tibet coordinator will meet Dalai Lama: official

October 8, 2009

AFP - Monday October 5, 2009

Maria Otero, the US government's new pointperson on Tibet, will meet the
Dalai Lama after he arrives in Washington on Monday, State Department
spokesman Ian Kelly said.

"Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero, who
is also the US government's special coordinator for Tibetan issues, will
meet with the Dalai Lama upon his arrival to Washington DC this week," Kelly

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, who has met every sitting US president
since George H.W. Bush in 1991, is due to arrive later Monday on a week-long
visit to Washington that will also include talks with congressional leaders.

But he will not meet with President Barack Obama.

Kelly, who gave no details about the meeting between Otero and the Dalai
Lama, told reporters at the daily State Department briefing that the
president will "meet the Dalai Lama at a mutually agreeable time."

But he referred reporters to the White House for further details.

Clinton only last Thursday announced Otero's appointment as Tibet
coordinator, a role in which she is expected to promote dialogue between
between China and representatives of the Dalai Lama.

China said last month it "firmly opposed" any meetings between foreign
officials and the Dalai Lama, after top Obama aides met the Tibetan
spiritual leader in India.

Beijing also issued a veiled warning to the White House against an eventual
meeting between Obama and the Buddhist monk, seen by China as a "splittist"
seeking independence for Tibet despite his calls for regional autonomy.

Aides to the Dalai Lama then said the spiritual leader would not meet Obama
on his visit to Washington this week, which prompted Tibetan prime
minister-in-exile Samdhong Rinpoche to accuse the United States of

"We've decided to meet with the Dalai Lama because of our respect for his
position, for the fact that he is a revered spiritual leader," Kelly said.

"Our position regarding China is clear, that we want to engage China. We
think China is an important global player," the spokesman said.

"We also don't try and downplay some of the concerns we have about China and
some of our disagreements with China in the area of human rights, religious
freedom and freedom of expression," he said.

"But I think these are two separate issues -- the president's decision to
meet with the Dalai Lama and the path that our relationshp with China is
on," he said.
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