Newark: The Dalai Lama said on Thursday he was saddened by the killing of Osama bin Laden by US commandos, which he likened to the 2006 hanging of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
"I feel it is rather sad," the Tibetan spiritual leader said at a press conference in New Jersey. "I think this is wrong. It is like for Saddam Hussein when he was hung. I felt very sad."
The Dalai Lama`s comments appeared to contradict an impression he had given last week in Los Angeles -- that the most wanted man in the world had deserved to die.
After those comments had been widely reported, the Tibetan government-in-exile sent out a press release trying to clarify his remarks, and said the Dalai Lama was emphasising the need to find a distinction between "the action and the actor”.
"Forgiveness doesn`t mean forget what happened," he told an audience at the University of Southern California, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times last week.
"If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures," the Dalai Lama said, according to the Times.
The Dalai Lama, who left Tibet in 1959 after a Tibetan uprising was crushed by the Chinese, is on a teaching tour in the United States.
Asked about negotiations between Tibet and China, he said that so far, there had been "no positive results”.
"Our side is always open," he added. "I wish to visit Tibet to investigate if Tibetans are happy or not”.
"Sooner or later, we have to tackle the problem. We ourselves are not seeking independence. We are looking for autonomy," said the Dalai Lama, who the Chinese accuse of not recognising their sovereignty over Tibet.
The Dalai Lama, who is 75, said Tibetan leaders had been meeting to choose his successor. "We have not finalised it yet. Perhaps this year we will finalise our position," he said, adding: "But looking at my face, do you think there is a hurry?"
The Tibetan government-in-exile would like to find a successor before the current Dalai Lama dies in order to circumvent the choice of a new Dalai Lama by China.