Chicago Sun-Times
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Valerie Jarrett quietly jets to India to meet with the Dalai Lama on Tibet


WASHINGTON--White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrettt, who seemed to vanish at the end of last week, was actually dispatched to India on a delicate diplomatic mission: President Obama' tapped her to meet with the exiled Tibetan religious leader, the Dalai Lama.

Jarrettt called on the leading figure for Tibet's autonomy from China on Sunday and Monday, along with State Department Under Secretary Maria Otero, the Obama White House new Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues.

The Jarrett visit to Dharamsala, India, to meet with the Dalai Lama at his residence, comes in advance of Obama traveling to China in November. The Nobel Prize winning Dalaii Lama was in the U.S. in May and has a return trip scheduled for next month; Jarrett's visit could serve to pave the way for a White House meeting with Obama.

Jarrettt's brief was to brief on the Obama administration's approach on Tibet--a sensitive issue, given the importance of the bi-lateral U.S.-China relationship.

The Obama pledge to the Tibetans means, according to the Dalai Lama's office, "protecting their distinct religious, linguistic, and cultural heritage and securing respect for their human rights and civil liberties."

Jarrettt--according to the Dalai Lama's office-- reported that Obama "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.

More from the office of the Dalai Lama:

"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.


maybe she's trying to team up with leon finney and arthur brazier to develop 63rd street. she, along with rezko and finney were instrumental in demolishing the's doubful even the holy man can put it back together. who next, cat stevens.

Hi Sweet,

Many think the delinking of Human Rights from Trade was a mistake president Clinton has to live with. Sould president Obama restore and link them togegther?

Karma Zurkhang

To Karma Zurkhang:

The USA acts only with "Enlightened Self-Interests" in mind. Which means, when it suited its interest best, it put a booming China trade ahead of Tibetan self governance. Why waste so much energy over a bedraggled "hillbillies" when the commercial canyons of communist chung-guo beckon with the lure of lucre!

If indeed Obama decides to "restore the link between Human Rights and Trade", be assured, dear Karma, it will be because of "Englightened Self-Interests'. Why not give a "helping hand" to a people, who having been oppressed by the Chinese, can be used against the Chinese as yet another voodoo doll needle?

Why, indeed.

Silly me, I thought Hillary Clinton was secertary of state-----------

It is not too late for the Obama Administration to embrace the Dalai Lama's concept of autonomy for Tibet. Basically, he wants the same status that Spain has given to its Basque and Catalan provinces since Franco's death. If you've ever been to Bilbao or Barcelona, you've seen what the Dalai Lama wants for Tibet. This is something China could definitely live with, if it could get past its irrational fears of separatism. We've covered this in detail in our newly-published book, "Freeing Tibet: 50 Years of Struggle, Resilience and Hope." You can read more about Tibet's struggle on the website I hope the President will push Hu Jintao to come to a final resolution of the Tibet issue by agreeing to a statute of autonomy for Tibet.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 14, 2009 7:07 AM.

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