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Obama aides meet Dalai Lama: spokesman

india Updated: Sep 14, 2009 13:06 IST

Senior aides to US President Barack Obama held talks with the Dalai Lama on Monday ahead of the Tibetan leader's scheduled trip to the US next month, a Dalai Lama spokesman said.

Three US officials, headed by White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, are in Dharamshala, India, where the Tibetan government in exile has its headquarters.

"The delegation from the United States met with the Dalai Lama," spokesman Tenzin Taklha told AFP.

He declined to give any other information on the two-hour long talks.

The delegation is the highest-level official US group 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 scheduled to return to the US next month, when he hopes to meet Obama.

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

Every US president has met the Dalai Lama since the President George H. W. Bush in 1991, each time triggering strong condemnation from China.

Obama -- who has called for a broader relationship between the United States and China -- is scheduled to make his first presidential visit to Beijing in November.

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