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Exile Tibetan administration head’s first meeting in US State Department hailed as historic

Mr Robert Destro, Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues with Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and US Tibetan representative Ngodup Tsering during their meeting at the State Department. (Photo courtesy: Twitter/Lobsang Sangay)

(TibetanReview.net, Oct16’20) – The executive head of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) at Dharamsala, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, has on Oct 15 met with Mr Robert Destro, whose appointment as the Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues was announced by the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just the day before. Detro, a veteran human rights advocate and civil rights attorney, is Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the State Department.

Calling the meeting in the Harry S Truman building in Washington DC historic, the CTA said on its Tibet.net website Oct 16 that this was the first time “the CTA Sikyong was formally invited to the State Department for meetings,” marking “a momentous progress between Tibet-US relations.”

The meeting came just a day after Destro’s appointment as the Special Coordinator was condemned by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian who called it a “political manipulation” designed to “interfere in China’s internal affairs and destabilize Tibet.”

“Today’s unprecedented meeting further strengthens the narrative that the Central Tibetan Administration will be treated akin to other governments by the US State Department, and it is yet another significant win for Tibetans and allies,” Sangay was quoted as saying. That remains to be seen once the US election fever dies down.

Sangay was stated to have explained to Detro the importance of passing the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020, a Bill pending in the US Congress, and about “the alarming worsening conditions of Tibetans in Tibet.”

He has also urged Destro “to press the Chinese government to have dialogue between the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government based on the Middle Way Approach.”

“We are pleased that this meeting was finally approved by nine different offices within the State Department. This is a clear sign of near unanimous belief within the State Department that the Central Tibetan Administration must have more involvement in the peace process” Tibet.net quoted CTA’s de facto Washington envoy, Representative Ngodup Tsering, as saying.

Destro was also part of the committee along with Keith Krach, the undersecretary of state for economic growth, who visited Taiwan last month to sign new trade deals. The US is looking to boost its relations with Taiwan and Tibet to increase pressure on China, noted hindustantimes.com Oct 16.

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