Barack Obama to meet Dalai Lama next week

Barack Obama to meet Dalai Lama next week
# 12 February 2010 19:55 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. President Barack Obama will meet the Dalai Lama at the White House next week despite threats from China that relations between Washington and Beijing will be damaged if he does not cancel it, APA reports quoting web-page.
The Dalai Lama is expected to brief President Obama on last month’s Tibetan delegation to Beijing
His decision to welcome the Tibetan Buddhist leader in Washington has been interpreted as a snub in Beijing as relations between the United States and China have become strained.
The meeting, set for February 18 was announced yesterday, just days after China voiced its anger over a new £4 billion arms deal to supply Taiwan with American weapons. It comes at a critical moment in American attempts to persuade Beijing to back tough sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt its civil nuclear power programme.
Beijing’s Foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Washington suggested the meeting would be a breach of America’s recognition that Tibet is a part of China.
"We urge the US side to fully understand the high sensitivity of Tibet-related issues, and honour its commitment to recognise Tibet as part of China and to oppose ’Tibet independence’.
"China urges the US ... to immediately call off the wrong decision of arranging for President Obama to meet with the Dalai Lama ... to avoid any more damage to Sino-US relations," he said.
The Dalai Lama is expected to brief President Obama on last month’s Tibetan delegation to Beijing and his concerns over "continuing repression" of Tibetans following the 2008 protests.
Tenzing Takhla, the Dalai Lama’s spokesman told The Daily Telegraph the Tibetan leader remained committed to dialogue as the only way to resolve the dispute. "The situation inside Tibet is not good, the repression continues. The Chinese are trying to make this a personal issue but it is about the happiness and welfare of six million Tibetans inside Tibet," he said.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs brushed aside China’s protests, describing the Dalai Lama as "an internationally respected religious leader." "We think we have a mature enough relationship with the Chinese that we can agree on mutual interests, but also have a mature enough relationship that we know the two countries are not always going to agree on everything."
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