Dalai Lama, Obama to attend religious meet
Globe-trotting monk the Dalai Lama and US President Barack Obama will be together at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington next week, the second time in less than a year, his aides said here Saturday.
Dharamsala: Globe-trotting monk the Dalai Lama and US President Barack Obama will be together at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington next week, the second time in less than a year, his aides said here Saturday.
"His Holiness is on a religious tour to the US and will attend the National Prayer Breakfast Feb 5 where the US President will also participate," a senior functionary in the Dalai Lama`s office told IANS.
He said so far there is no scheduled meeting between the spiritual leader and the US president.
However, the US has already played down an official engagement between the two.
"As he has done in the past, the president will see many religious leaders at the event, but we don`t have any specific meeting with the Dalai Lama to announce," media reports, quoting National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan, said.
Obama has met the Dalai Lama thrice. Every time the meetings prompted sharp reaction from the Chinese government, which views the Nobel Peace laureate as a hostile element who is bent on splitting Tibet from China.
Obama met the Dalai Lama in February last year, saying the US supports his "middle-way" approach of neither assimilation nor independence for Tibetans in China.
The National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event held on the first Thursday of February in its 62nd year, brings together over 3,200 people from all 50 US states and 140 countries.
The Tibetan government-in-exile, based in this Himachal Pradesh town, views the presence of their spiritual leader and the US president at the religious ceremony as occasion to highlight the prevailing "tense" situation in Tibet.
It also believes reiteration of the US stand favouring early resumption of the talks between the Dalai Lama`s envoys and the Chinese.
China and the Dalai Lama`s envoys have held nine rounds of talks since 2002 to resolve the Tibetan issue. But after the last round of talks - the ninth - held in Beijing in January 2010 the deadlock continues.
The spiritual leader has met all the US presidents since George Bush (1991). He has met Bill Clinton and George W. Bush several times, the Dalai Lama office said.
In 2007, he received the US Congressional Gold Medal, even in the face of protests by China.
The Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959. The Tibetan administration-in-exile is based in Dharamsala town.