US envoy to meet Dalai Lama in Dharamsala

February 23rd, 2011 - 3:14 pm ICT by IANS  

By Vishal Gulati
Dharamsala, Feb 23 (IANS) US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer is set to meet Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama during a two-day visit to Dharamsala, officials said Wednesday. Confirming Roemer’s visit, Chimme Choekyappa, private secretary to the Dalai Lama, told IANS: “The US ambassador is reaching Dharamsala today (Wednesday) and he is scheduled to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his official palace tomorrow (Thursday).”

Regarding the purpose of the visit, he said: “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 visit a school for Tibetan children and then have an audience with the Dalai Lama.

Deputy Commissioner (Kangra) R.S. Gupta told IANS: “The US ambassador is coming on a two-day visit.” The envoy will be accompanied by his wife.

The Tibetan government in exile is based in Dharamsala.

Choekyappa said the envoy’s programme also includes inauguration of a reception centre for new Tibetan refugees in lower Dharamsala.

Officials of the Tibetan government-in-exile said, top government functionaries, including Tibetan Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche, would accord a ceremonial welcome to the US ambassador on his arrival at Kangra airport.

They said Roemer would discuss issues relating to Tibetan exiles with the Dalai Lama.

This 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 state government has declared Roemer a state guest.

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

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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