Obama Praised His Holiness’ commitment to peace and nonviolence

Dharamsala, 22 February 2014: President Obama commended “the Dalai Lama’s commitment to peace and nonviolence” and expressed his support for the Middle Way Approach, a policy being followed by the exile Tibetan administration to resolve the long-standing issue of Tibet with China.

 In the picture Obama meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Friday 21 February 2014

According to The White House Press Secretary, Obama “reiterated his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions and the protection of human rights for Tibetans …” Obama also “encourages direct dialogue to resolve long-standing differences and that a dialogue that produces results would be positive for China and Tibetans.”

The 45-minutes meeting was held in the Map Room, not the Oval Office — a modest concession to the Chinese — was the third between the two global leaders.

According to Reuters soon after Obama’s meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui summoned Daniel Kritenbrink, charge d’affaires of the US embassy in China.

“The United States must take concrete actions to regain the trust of the Chinese government and people,” Zhang said.

However, commenting on the leaders’ meeting, Dr Lobsang Sangay, the exile Tibetan prime minister told AFP, “It sends a very powerful message to Tibetans inside Tibet because it gives them a sense of hope that their voices are heard, even by the most powerful person in the world.”

Earlier China pressed US to cancel the meeting between the two Nobel Laureates stating that it would be tantamount to interfering “in the internal affairs of China” and that it would “severely impair China-U.S. relations”.

China’s continuing occupation of the Tibetan Plateau has resulted in systematic destruction of its culture, language and environment. As many as 127 Tibetans inside Tibet have set themselves on fire to protest against Beijing’s rule over their homeland.

Phayul, February 22, 2014

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