AFP: Obama aides at Dalai Lama headquarters for talks

From Agence France Presse (AFP)

DHARAMSHALA, India – Senior officials from US President Barack Obama’s government held talks Sunday with the premier of the Tibetan government in exile ahead of a planned meeting with the Dalai Lama.

The three US officials, headed by White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, are scheduled to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader on Monday, local officials said.

Tibetan premier Samdhong Rinpoche and the Dalai Lama’s special envoy Lodi Gyari held closed-door talks with the delegation, Tibetan officials said, but declined to give any details of the hour-long discussions.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to return to Dharamshala, where the Tibetan government in exile has its headquarters, later Sunday from a five-day tour of Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

It is the highest-level US delegation to travel to Dharamashala since March 2008 when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met the Dalai Lama here following a wave of unrest in Tibet.

The Nobel laureate, who visited the United States in May, is expected to return to the US next month, when he hopes to meet with Obama.

China regards the Dalai Lama a separatist and has stepped up pressure on world leaders including Obama not to meet with him.

The Buddhist leader fled to India 50 years ago as China crushed an abortive uprising in Tibet.