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Dalai Lama likes 'energetic, tall' Obama

world Updated: Feb 19, 2010 09:33 IST

The Dalai Lama said on Friday he liked the "energetic" style of US President Barack Obama and called his election as the first African-American US leader a global inspiration.

"Quite young, energetic, tall president," Tibet's exiled spiritual leader told reporters with a smile when asked his impressions after his first White House meeting with Obama.

The Dalai Lama described Obama as a historical figure in the vein of President Abraham Lincoln, who abolished slavery, and civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.

"I mentioned this" to him, the Dalai Lama, said. "Now non-white person becomes president of this great country."

The spiritual leader said his election had inspired not just the American people but also many other around the world.

The Dalai Lama met with Obama as a senator but the president did not see him when the Tibetan leader came to Washington last year. China, which sent troops into Tibet in 1950, fiercely opposes the Dalai Lama's foreign travels.

The Dalai Lama said he had no hard feelings about Obama's decision not to meet him last year and sympathized with his goal of seeking warmer relations with China.

And at the long-awaited White House meeting, the Buddhist leader said that Tibet was only the third issue they discussed, as he wanted to speak to Obama more broadly about promoting harmony and reducing suffering worldwide.

The celibate monk revealed that the two men had common views on the need for a strong role for women.

"Female -- more sensitive, more understand suffering," the Dalai Lama said, adding with a laugh that Obama agreed with him.