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ASIA: Dalai Lama hails Obama win, recalls his concern for Tibet 06 Nov 2008 10:39 PM

DHARAMSHALA, Nov 6 AFP - Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has congratulated US president-elect Barack Obama, commending his "moral courage" and recalling the senator's "concern" for the situation in Tibet.

In a message today, the Nobel peace prize winner described Obama as a president who reflected America's diversity and noted "the determination and moral courage that you have demonstrated throughout the long campaign...

"I recall our own telephone conversation this spring and these same essential qualities came through in your concern for the situation in Tibet," he said.

Last month, the Dalai Lama admitted he had given up on extracting any concessions from Beijing after seven rounds of talks between his envoys and Chinese officials on Tibet's future.

The Tibetan leader fled into exile in India in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

"As the president of the United States, you will certainly have great and difficult tasks before you, but also many opportunities to create change in the lives of those millions who continue to struggle for basic human needs," he said in his message to Obama.

"You must also remember and work for these people, wherever they may be," he added.

Until now, the Dalai Lama has championed a "middle path" policy with China which espouses "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet, rather than the full independence that many younger, more radical activists demand.

The future of that policy will be the focus of a special meeting in Dharamshala next month of around 300 delegates representing the worldwide exiled Tibetan community.

AFP lh=0A