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Bush, Pope may talk about Tibet situation

world Updated: Apr 16, 2008 11:20 IST

President George W Bush will be discussing the issue of China and human rights and possibly also the recent unrest in Tibet with visiting Pope Benedict XVI, a top US official said on Tuesday.

"That's possible," White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said in response to a query whether Bush and the Pontiff will be discussing the situation in Tibet in the Oval Office.

"It's not on the list of things that I have here. But they, obviously, will talk about China and human rights, so that's a possibility," she added.

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama is also on a US visit now, his first after violent anti-China protests broke out in his Himalayan homeland.

The Pope arrived to a rousing welcome at the Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, received by the President himself along with the First Lady, Laura Bush.

"I expect the president will go into some, but not a lot of detail about areas where they have a shared commitment and shared values, such as human rights and individual dignity, their work together to combat extremist ideology, especially in the Muslim world, that obviously the pope has been no stranger to criticism by extremists, as well," Perino said.

"And so the president and the pope have shared a desire to work together to combat terrorism, so I expect they will talk about that," Perino said.

She said Bush was interested in how the Pope has been working to establish an interfaith dialogue. The discussions are also expected to touch upon the issues of religious freedom, human rights crisis in Africa and the Lebanon situation, the Press Secretary said.