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Valerie Jarrett and the Dalai Lama's Thursday White House visit: Dispatched to India to set up meeting

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WASHINGTON--The Dalai Lama meets with President Obama Thursday at the White House. His invitation came from White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, dispatched last September to Dharamsala, India to see the exiled Tibet leader.

I wrote about Jarrett's diplomatic debut in September.

That visit laid the groundwork for the Thursday meeting, coming after Obama visited China in November. Jarrett and I talked about her quiet diplomacy last week; read my column about Jarrett and the Dalai Lama here.

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Valerie Jarrett quietly jets to India to meet with the Dalai Lama on Tibet
By Lynn Sweet
on September 14, 2009 7:07 AM

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.

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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 February 17, 2010 8:25 AM.

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