Dharamsala: US President Barack Obama’s emissary, Valerie Jarrett, called on His Holiness the Dalai Lama on September 13 and 14. She was accompanied by State Department Under Secretary Maria Otero, who she introduced formally to His Holiness as the designated new Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues.
Ms. Jarrett, who is a Senior Advisor and Assistant to President Obama, conveyed the President’s greetings to His Holiness and informed him that she was sent to brief him about the Obama Administration’s approach to the Tibetan issue.
She reiterated President Obama’s commitment to support the Tibetan people in protecting their distinct religious, linguistic, and cultural heritage and securing respect for their human rights and civil liberties. She said the President commends the Dalai Lama for being consistent in looking for a solution based on Tibetan autonomy within the People’s Republic of China.
His Holiness gave an overview of the situation of the Tibetans in exile. He informed Ms. Jarrett of the measures taken by the Tibetans in India to preserve and promote the distinct Tibetan culture and identity through the kind and generous assistance of people and government of India.
He also updated Ms. Jarrett on the status of the dialogue process with the Chinese leadership, including the presentation of a comprehensive Memorandum on Tibetan autonomy to the Chinese leadership during the eighth round of discussions in October-November 2008. Ms. Jarrett discussed with His Holiness on the best way the United States could assist in the resolution for the Tibetan issue, particularly in the light of the first visit by President Obama to China in November. His Holiness conveyed to Ms. Jarrett the issues that he would like President Obama to take when he visits China. His Holiness also conveyed his strong belief that the United States and China need to have very good and principled relations.
His Holiness greatly appreciated President Obama’s concern for the situation in Tibet and said he was hopeful that during his presidency the Tibetan people can see progress in the resolution of their problem. His Holiness is looking forward to meeting President Obama after his visit to China.
His Holiness expressed his concerns on a number of issues, including global conflicts and matters relating to the environment. He applauded President Obama’s initiative to tackle these issues through cooperation, outreach and dialogue and urged him to continue doing so.
His Holiness welcomed the decision to appoint Under Secretary Maria Otero as the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues and said he looked forward to working with her.
Valerie Jarrett, “conveyed the president’s respect” and heard the Dalai Lama’s “commitment to dialogue with the Chinese government, and that he does not seek independence but rather sees Tibet’s future as a part of China,” The New York Times quoted Mr Mike Hammer, a spokesman for the National Security Council, as saying in an e-mail message.
“We think his views deserve our attention, and that of the Chinese government,” he said.