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24february201101456Dharamshala: US Ambassador to New Delhi, India, Timothy J. Roemer Thursday (24th of February) met the political and spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The two discussed various issues including the dialogue process between Tibetans and China and global issues, such as environment and the recent situation in Middle East and Arab.

Roemer and his wife Sally, who reached Dharamshala on Wednesday afternoon for a two-day visit, flew back to Delhi after the talks. Talking to reporters at Gaggal airport prior to his departure, Roemer said the meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama was "the first time in many years by a US ambassador".

Asked what transpired during the meeting, he said the dialogue process between Chinese government and the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai lama, which came to a standstill after the ninth round of talks held in January last year, were among the "many important issues" that came under discussion.

"The US had asked China to continue the dialogue process on Tibet issue with envoys of Dalai Lama," he said and added that the US was very much concerned about human rights of Tibetan people.

"The talks were most engaging and most productive," Roemer said. The Dalai Lama's office did not comment in detail on Roemer's visit, but was upbeat over the "positive" outcome of the morning meeting that lasted for more than an hour, the Tibetan spiritual leader's private secretary, Chimme Choekyappa, told IANS: "It was very good".

Refusing to comment officially on the role of the US regarding resumption of talks between the Dalai Lama's envoys and Beijing, he said the meeting was focused on various global issues. "Of course, environment and recent socio-political conditions in Middle East and North Africa were among the major issues. His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed concern over recent incidents of violence," Choekyappa said.

According to a report of JANS, sources in His Holiness the Dalai Lama's office said only close aides of the Nobel laureate were present during the meeting. Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's office, said: "It was just a courtesy call. Issues of common interest were discussed."

A senior official in His Holiness the Dalai Lama's office said the visit was part of periodic contacts between the US government and the Tibetan leaders. He said the aim was also to encourage a dialogue between Beijing and the spiritual leader's envoys.

Roemer was the third among high-level US officials to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama since March 2008 when the US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi came to meet the spiritual leader.

His visit also comes less than two years after a high-level group led by White House advisor Valerie Jarrett visited this town to apprise the Nobel laureate and his functionaries on the best way the US could assist in the resolution of the Tibetan issue.

After reaching Dharamshala on Wednesday, Roemer inaugurated a newly founded refugee reception centre, a transit home for Tibetan refugees, on the outskirts of this town, which was funded by the US government. He met high-ranking officials of the Tibetan government-in-exile, including prime minister Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who believes in the "middle-way" policy that demands "genuine autonomy" for the people of Tibet, but Chinese government accuses His Holiness the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for Tibet.

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