US envoy begins talks with Dalai Lama

February 24th, 2011 - 1:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, Feb 24 (IANS) US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer began closed-door talks with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama here Thursday, an official said.”The talks between the Dalai Lama and US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer began at the official palace of the Dalai Lama at around 10 a.m,” the official said, adding that only close aides of the Dalai Lama were present at the meeting.

However, no top government functionaries, including Tibetan Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche, were present.

Roemer and his wife Sally, on a two-day visit to Dharamsala, reached the Gaggal airport near here Wednesday.

Chimme Choekyappa, private secretary to the Dalai Lama, told IANS: “Everything is positive. The outcome (of the meeting) will also be positive. Of course, they met before too…once in Delhi.”

As per the programme schedule made available by the Himachal Pradesh government, the New Delhi-based US ambassador will return to the national capital later in the day after holding talks with the spiritual leader and visiting some of the settlements of the exiled Tibetans in and around this town.

The Dalai Lama’s office did not comment on Roemer’s visit.

Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at the Dalai Lama’s office, said: “We are not making any comments.”

A senior official in the Dalai Lama’s office said the visit was part of periodic contacts between the US government and the Tibetan leaders. He said the aim was also to encourage a dialogue between Beijing and the Tibetan spiritual leader’s envoys.

Sources in the Dalai Lama’s office said the possibility of the 17th Karmapa’s issue finding a mention in the meeting had not been ruled out.

The fact that the Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje held a meeting with the Dalai Lama at his official palace just two days prior to the Roemer-Dalai Lama meeting has given rise to the speculation of the issue being discussed.

Police Jan 28 recovered nearly Rs.70 million worth of unaccounted foreign and Indian currency from the Karmapa Lama’s monastery, Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery near here.

The Roemer-Dalai Lama would be the third highest official-level group to visit this town since March 2008 when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came to meet the spiritual guru.

The visit also comes less than two years after a high-level group led by White House advisor Valerie Jarrett visited this town to apprise the Nobel laureate and his functionaries on the best way the US could assist in the resolution of the Tibetan issue.

The Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile is not recognised by any country.

The Dalai Lama, who believes in the “middle-path” policy that demands “greater autonomy” for the Tibetans, is viewed by the Chinese as a hostile element who is bent on splitting Tibet from China.

Some 140,000 Tibetans now live in exile, with over 100,000 of them in different parts of India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.

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