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Obama To Host Dalai Lama At White House On Friday

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The Dalai Lama speaks while participating in a multi-faith panel discussion with Jewish, Islamic and Christian leaders Monday, July 18, 2011, in Chicago. The Dalai Lama praised Illinois on Sunday for recently abolishing the death penalty. His talk came a day after meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington, which prompted an angry rebuke from China. The country sent troops to occupy Tibet in 1949. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will meet with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Friday at the White House.

The White House says Obama is hosting the Dalai Lama in his capacity as a respected religious and cultural leader.

The Nobel laureate is famed for his peaceful struggle for greater Tibetan autonomy that is bitterly opposed by China. White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says the U.S. supports the Dalai Lama's "middle way" approach. She says the U.S. recognizes Tibet as part of China and doesn't support Tibetan independence.

But she says the U.S. is concerned about tensions and deteriorating human rights in China's Tibetan areas. She says the U.S. will keep urging China to talk with the Dalai Lama without preconditions.

Obama met with the Dalai Lama previously in 2010 and 2011.

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