July 18, 2011
A meeting at the wrong time. While Barack Obama tries to find a solution to the issue of debt ceiling, currently set at 14,300 billion, last Saturday he welcomed the Dalai Lama, Tibetan spiritual leader and sworn enemy of the Chinese government.
The President of the United States had already met Tenzin Gyatso in February 2010. This time the meeting was held in the chart room, behind closed doors, and no official photograph was made. In a statement, the White House explained the purpose of the interview: “The president said he encouraged direct dialogue to resolve long-standing differences and that a dialogue leading to positive results for China and for the Tibetans.” Carefully, Barack Obama also reiterated that the United States considered that Tibet was part of China.
The version of the interview from the Dalai Lama is more equivocal. “Obama has obviously expressed concern about basic human values, human rights and religious freedom”, said the Tibetan spiritual leader at the end of the meeting of 45 minutes. “He showed a sincere concern about the suffering in Tibet but also in other places,” he added. The interview was reported by Kate Saunders, spokeswoman for the International Campaign for Tibet.