President Obama meets with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

President Obama meets with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Map Room of the White House, Saturday, July 16, 2011. (The White House)

The Dalai Lama said today that there was a “spirit of reunion” at his meeting with President Obama at the White House today. Addressing friends and reporters at his hotel in Washington following the meeting, the Dalai Lama said: “Of course as President of the greatest democratic country so naturally [President Obama] is showing some concern about basic human values, human rights, religious freedom, these things, so naturally he shows genuine concern about suffering in Tibet and other places.” The Dalai Lama also said that he briefed the President on his decision to devolve political power to a democratically elected leadership. The Dalai Lama referred to the “close friendship” between the two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

The White House released an image of the meeting and the following statement today on the meeting: “The President met this morning at the White House with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. The President reiterated his strong support for the preservation of the unique religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions of Tibet and the Tibetan people throughout the world. He underscored the importance of the protection of human rights of Tibetans in China. The President commended the Dalai Lama’s commitment to nonviolence and dialogue with China and his pursuit of the “Middle Way” approach. Reiterating the U.S. policy that Tibet is a part of the People’s Republic of China and the United States does not support independence for Tibet, the President stressed that he encourages direct dialogue to resolve long-standing differences and that a dialogue that produces results would be positive for China and Tibetans. The President stressed the importance he attaches to building a U.S.-China cooperative partnership. The Dalai Lama stated that he is not seeking independence for Tibet and hopes that dialogue between his representatives and the Chinese government can soon resume.”