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Dalai Lama Popular Tibetan leader to meet Obama at prayer breakfast

President Obama has previously met with the Dalai Lama three times, despite the strong objections of the Chinese government who consider the Tibetan leader a dissident

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The Dalai Lama leaves the White House, following a meeting with President Barack Obama, in Washington on Feb. 18, 2010. play

The Dalai Lama leaves the White House, following a meeting with President Barack Obama, in Washington on Feb. 18, 2010.

(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

The Dalai Lama will attend this year’s National Prayer Breakfast on February 5,  which will mark the first time the Tibetan leader will appear in public at an event that President Obama is expected to also attend.

A press aide for Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, who is co-chair of the event, revealed the information.

The Dalai Lama will be at the breakfast, but he does not have a speaking role,” Casey aide Alex Miller told TIME in an email.

The White House did not immediately confirm the report.

President Obama has previously met with the Dalai Lama three times, despite the strong objections of the Chinese government who consider the Tibetan leader a dissident.

In the past, the White House has not allowed reporters to witness the meetings, which have been staged outside the Oval Office in deference to Chinese objections.

The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual, historically Christian event at the Washington Hilton for hundreds of mostly evangelical and other faith leaders.

The President of the United States and First Lady historically attend, and the President traditionally speaks.

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