Barack Obama supports Tibetan cause, but didn’t meet Dalai Lama

July 30th, 2008 - 3:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, July 30 (IANS) US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who did not meet the Dala Lama during the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit to the US this month, has expressed support for the Tibetan people. A day before his Republican rival John McCain met the Dala Lama, Obama wrote to him, saying that “American attention to and backing for the people of Tibet is widespread”, an official statement from the Tibetan government-in-exile said here Wednesday.

Obama wrote: “I regret that our respective travel schedules will prevent us from meeting during your visit to the United States this month, but I wanted to take the opportunity to reassure you of my highest respect and support for you, your mission and your people at this critical time.

“I hope that this letter and your meeting with Senator McCain will make clear that American attention to and backing for the people of Tibet is widespread and transcends the divisions of our political contest in this important election year,” he said in the letter dated July 24.

“I was heartened to read of the continuing dialogue between your representatives and the government of the People’s Republic of China.

“Although progress is likely to be slow, and the travails of the people of Tibet will continue, I am hopeful that the process of dialogue and negotiation will bring positive results if both sides demonstrate good intentions and mutual respect. I remain optimistic that this process will continue beyond the Beijing Olympics, and pledge that I will continue to support it,” he said.

The Dalai Lama along with many of his supporters fled Tibet and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959. The Dalai Lama has ever since been heading the Tibetan government-in-exile from here.

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