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US gov’t’s Tibet official seeks inputs from Dalai Lama, exile Tibetan leadership

(TibetanReview.net, Jan14’21) – Mr Robert A Destro, the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, has on Jan 13 interacted online with the Dalai Lama and also met online with the executive and legislative heads of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) at Dharamsala, India.

Mr Destro, who is also the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, informed the Tibetan spiritual leader that his government will continue to urge Chinese authorities to meet with him or his envoys to find ways to protect Tibet’s traditional culture and religion under Chinese rule, reported the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Jan 13.

The Dalai Lama was reported to have stressed to Mr Destro the importance of preserving Tibet’s Buddhist religion as a source of benefit and moral values for the world, adding that Tibet’s fragile environment—now under threat from Chinese development projects—had a direct link to the survival of millions around the world.

Mr Robert A Destro, the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, has on Jan 13 interacted online with the Dalai Lama. (Photo courtesy: Robert A Destro/Twitter)

Mr Destro, who was appointed Oct 14 to become the sixth US special coordinator on Tibetan issues, later met online with Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, the executive head of the CTA, and his ministerial colleagues as well as Speaker Pema Jungney, Deputy Speaker Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok and the other Standing Committee members of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile.

“Our job at the State Department is to be useful, and to be of service to all the Tibetan people. Your sense of the goal as what does vibrant Tibetan government looks like is for you to set and our job is to be of service to you as you work through the preservation of the Tibetan community, Tibetan language, Tibetan Buddhism, and your identity,” the CTA’s Tibet.net Jan 13 quoted Destro as saying.

He was also quoted as saying: “We want to make sure that as we go forward, we have a really good sense of all of the practical matters we can help you with. It is not our job to preserve Tibetan culture, language, and religion. That job is yours; but we can certainly be of assistance and I can assure you that here in the US there is broad bipartisan support across the political spectrum to support the efforts of Tibetan people to preserve their unique identity.”

One of Mr Destro’s suggestions was stated to be to get the US government to build an “international coalition of countries” that will help the Tibetans protect their rights and preserve their unique identity.

He was reported to have asked for practical suggestions from the CTA leadership on which he could act on.

He has also said, “We have urged like-minded countries to pass their own versions of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act so that the world can travel to Tibet as freely as the Chinese can travel in our countries and bear witness to what’s going on in Tibet.”

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