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Obama Dalai meeting condemned

DHARAMSHALA, Feb 2 – Tibet\\\’s government in exile Tuesday dismissed a strongly worded warning from China against any possible meeting between the Dalai Lama and US President Barack Obama.

"From our perspective, we feel the role of the United States is to facilitate a just and honest dialogue between the Dalai Lama\\\’s envoys and the government of China," said the exiled government\\\’s spokesman, Thubten Samphel.

"So there is nothing wrong in a meeting between the president and His Holiness," Samphel told AFP.

His remarks followed a warning from China that any decision by Obama to meet Tibet\\\’s exiled spiritual leader when he visits the United States later this month would "seriously undermine" Sino-US ties.

The Dalai Lama will be in Washington at the start of a 10-day US tour on February 16 but no meeting with Obama has been announced.

The US president was sharply criticised and accused of caving in to Chinese pressure for not meeting the Buddhist leader when he visited Washington in October last year.

"The United States supports His Holiness\\\’s approach that the issue of Tibet must be resolved within the framework of the Chinese constitution," Samphel said.

"So we see no reason for China\\\’s argument that such a meeting would undermine Sino-US relations," he added.

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Samphel declined to give any details of a just-concluded round of talks in China between the Dalai Lama\\\’s envoys and Chinese government representatives.

Beijing said no progress was made in the discussions, and stressed that the two sides remain "sharply divided" on the future of the Himalayan region.

The two envoys were scheduled to brief the press in Dharamshala — the seat of the government in exile in northern India — at 0930 GMT Tuesday.

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