Obama-Dalai Lama meet 'powerful message': Tibet PM in exile

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama sent a "powerful message" with the two leaders discussing human rights, Tibet's prime minister-in-exile said on Friday after the White House talks.

"It sends a very powerful message to Tibetans inside Tibet because it gives them a sense of hope that their voices are heard, even by the most powerful person in the world," prime minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay said.

"The respect shown to His Holiness by President Obama means a lot to Tibetans all over the world, particularly inside Tibet," he said.

Dr Sangay, who was elected to the new position in 2011 after the Dalai Lama said he was retiring from his political role, said that Mr Obama asked the spiritual leader about the human rights plight of Tibetans living under Chinese rule.

Dr Sangay said that the Dalai Lama told Mr Obama he was committed to the "Middle Way" of peacefully seeking greater autonomy within China.

China denounced Mr Obama for meeting the Dalai Lama, accusing the Nobel Peace Prize winner - who has lived in exile in India since 1959 - of pursuing a separatist agenda.