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Obama postpones meet with Dalai Lama

world Updated: Oct 05, 2009 13:07 IST

DPA
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The White House has postponed a meeting between the Dalai Lama and President Barack Obama until after Obama's meeting with Chinese leader Hu Jintao next month, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

The Post said it would be the first time since 1991 that the Tibetan spiritual leader will visit Washington and not meet the US president. He has visited Washington 10 times over that time span.

Citing unnamed government officials, diplomats and other sources, the Post said the postponement appeared to be aimed at improving ties with China and softening criticism of China's human rights abuses and financial policies.

Before she visited China in February, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said advocacy for human rights could not "interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate-change crisis and the security crisis".

The statement brought criticism from human rights advocates.

The Dalai Lama, who leads the Tibetan diaspora from abroad and advocates for his country's human rights in the face of Chinese rule, normally makes private visits to the sitting US president.

During the Dalai Lama's last visit in 2007, however, US President George W. Bush met with him publicly at the Capitol to award him the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress's highest civilian award.