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Tibetans hail Obama-Dalai Lama meet

Dharamshala, Fri, 19 Feb 2010 ANI

Dharamshala, Feb 19 (ANI): The Tibetan Government-in-exile on Friday hailed US President Barack Obama for his support to preserve Tibetan identity and respect their human rights.


Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama met President Obama at the White House on Thursday drawing an angry reaction from China and risking further damage to strained Sino-U.S. ties.


Raising issues that quickly stoked China's ire, Prsident Obama used his first presidential meeting with the Dalai Lama to press Beijing, under international criticism for its Tibet policies, to preserve Tibetan identity and respect human rights there.


Interacting with the media here, Tibetan Minister-in-Exile for Information and International Relations Kelsang Yangkyi Takla said: "I think they (Obama and Dalai Lama) had a very good meeting and obviously the president has expressed very strong support for human rights, and for the importance of preserving our culture, religion and way of life."


"I think he also had expressed the importance of continuing the dialogue with China regarding the situation in Tibet, and he also commented on His Holiness' approach of the middle way and the non-violent efforts," he added.


The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), that investigates the human rights situation in Tibet, said President Obama-the Dalai Lama meet would definitely lead to some positive effects in the future.


"It definitely instils a lot of hope and gives lot of sustainability of the faith in the long run so we are hopeful that it will eventually lead to some positive effect in the future," said Tenzin Norgey, the spokesperson of TCHRD.


However, Beijing has clearly not been placated, saying it was "strongly dissatisfied" about the meeting and expected Washington to take steps to put bilateral relations back on a healthy course.


Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Ma Zhaoxu, said the meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama "violated the U.S. Government's repeated acceptance that Tibet is a part of China, and it does not support Tibetan independence."


After the 70-minute meeting, the White House said President Obama "commended the Dalai Lama's ... commitment to non-violence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government."


President Obama encouraged China and the Dalai Lama's envoys to keep up efforts to resolve their differences through negotiations, despite recent talks having yielded little rogress.


The White House said President Obama and the Dalai Lama also "agreed on the importance of a positive and cooperative relationship between the United States and China." (ANI)


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