US Ambassador to India to visit Dharamsala

Dharamsala, Feb 23: US Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer will arrive in Dharamsala later today on a two-day visit during which, among other things, will meet the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The US Ambassador is scheduled to meet the Tibetan leader at his official residence tomorrow.

"Everything is positive. The outcome (of the meeting) will also be positive. Of course, they met before too...once in Delhi," IANS quoted Chimme Choekyappa, private secretary to the Dalai Lama, as saying today about the purpose of the visit.

The Himachal Pradesh state government, according to the report, has declared Roemer a state guest.

"The US ambassador is coming on a two-day visit. The envoy will be accompanied by his wife," the Deputy Commissioner (Kangra) R.S. Gupta told the news agency.

As per the programme schedule, made available by the state government, the US ambassador will visit a school for Tibetan children and then have an audience with the Dalai Lama.

The envoy's programme also includes inauguration of a reception centre for newly-arrived Tibetan refugees in lower Dharamsala later today.

Top officials of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile functionaries, including Tibetan Prime Minister Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, are expected to accord a ceremonial welcome to the US ambassador on his arrival at Gaggal airport near here.

During his meeting with the Dalai Lama, Roemer is also expected to discuss issues relating to Tibetan exiles.

This would be the third highest official-level group to visit this town since March 2008, when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came to meet the Tibetan leader amidst ongoing widespread unrest against Chinese rule in Tibet.

In September 2009, a high-level group led by White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, accompanied by US State Department Under Secretary Maria Otero, visited Dharamsala, the seat of Tibet's government in exile, to apprise the Nobel laureate and his functionaries on the best way the US could assist in the resolution of the Tibetan issue.

Earlier this month, Otero, who is also the US government's special coordinator for Tibetan issues, visited India, Nepal and Bhutan, and met Tibetan officials as part of an effort to review the "specific challenges" faced by Tibetans in the region.

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