Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Arabs gave US leaders most lavish presents

Dec 24, 2008

ARAB monarchs led world leaders in lavishing gifts on American leaders last year, especially Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, according to an annual inventory by the US State Department. The gifts go to the National Archives or charitable organisations. Highlights of the gift list:

# Jordan

King Abdullah II gave an emerald and diamond necklace and other jewellery, worth US$151,630 (S$220,000) to Dr Rice.

# Saudi Arabia

King Abdullah gave a ruby and diamond necklace with earrings, bracelet and ring worth US$165,000 to Dr Rice. He also gave an US$85,000 sapphire and diamond jewellery set and a US$10,000 artwork and a tent made of gold to First Lady Laura Bush.

# Abu Dhabi

Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan gave Vice-President Dick Cheney a US$7,500 clock.

# Singapore

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave Mr Bush US$450 worth of fitness equipment, including a 'uSurf Wave Action Exerciser' and an 'iGallop Core and Abs Exerciser'.

# China

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi gave President George W. Bush a US$3,000 gold replica of the Temple of Heaven.

# Japan

Mrs Aki Abe, the wife of Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe, gave Mrs Bush two hand-embroidered pillows, a porcelain Limoges box and a Scotty toy valued a total of US$900.

# Vietnam

President Nguyen Minh Triet gave Mr Bush a US$4,500 electric harp with a speakerphone.

# France

President Nicolas Sarkozy gave Mr Bush a US$5,000 bronze statue of a horse.

# Russia

General Peter Pace, the former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, received a 9mm machine gun (above), with a removable magazine, from Russia's chief of staff.


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