Rice is richest when it comes to official gifts

Protocol may put George W. Bush at the top of the US government, but when foreign leaders lavished gifts on members of his administration, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice drew most of the attention.

 

The elegant chief diplomat notably received a set of diamond and ruby jewelry from Saudi King Abdullah valued at 165,000 dollars, according to a list of official gifts released this week by the US State Department.

 

Jordan's King Abdullah II gave Rice a diamond and emerald set of jewelry, including a necklace, bracelet, earings and a ring, worth 147,000 dollars, said the report which covered presents received by US officials in 2007.

Secretary, Condoleezza Rice, Bush, cross-country biking, cutting brush, Texas ranch

Bush's wife Laura, for her part, also received a set of diamond and saphire jewelry from the Saudi monarch, but hers was worth just half that given to Rice -- 85,000 dollars.

 

Some of the gifts received by President Bush reflected his stated penchant for simple pleasures like cross-country biking and cutting brush on his Texas ranch.

 

In that vein, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt honored the US leader with a made-in-Sweden power saw equipped "with comfort grip handles".

 

All the official gifts remain public property, since US law forbids administration officials from accepting presents from foreign governments.



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