Page last updated at 18:52 GMT, Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Rice tops US 'official gift list'

Ms Rice at the annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, DC 6/12/2008
The Saudi king lavished Ms Rice with jewellery worth $312,000 in 2007

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has topped the list of US officials for the number of gifts received in 2007, a state department report shows.

Ms Rice received $312,000 (211,000) worth of jewels from the king of Saudi Arabia - worth three times more than his gifts to President George W Bush.

Among the presents listed for First Lady Laura Bush were "nuts and dried fruit" from the Dalai Lama - worth $6.

However, all gifts remain public property in keeping with US law.

In January 2007, Saudi King Abdullah presented Ms Rice with a diamond and emerald set - including a necklace, bracelet, earrings and a ring - worth $147,000 (100,000), according to the list.

In July 2007, he gave Ms Rice a set of diamond and ruby jewellery valued at $165,000.

The inventory also includes a $170,000 flower petal necklace he gave Ms Rice in 2005, which the department says was not previously disclosed.

Earlier, the state department reported erroneously that the jewellery valued at $147,000 had been given to Ms Rice by King Abdullah II of Jordan, not the Saudi monarch.

Fitness machines

Mr Bush's wife, Laura, also received a diamond and sapphire set from the Saudi monarch, but hers was worth just half that given to Ms Rice at $85,000.

From the same Arab leaders, President Bush received just over $100,000 in gifts in 2007, the list shows.

Among the more offbeat gifts, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt honoured the US leader with a $570 made-in-Sweden power saw equipped "with comfort grip handles", presumably for use at his Texas ranch.

And the prime minister of Singapore gave Mr Bush $450 worth of fitness equipment, including a uSurf Wave Action Exerciser and an iGallop Core and Abs Exerciser.

The wife of Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave Mrs Bush two hand-embroidered pillows with the names and images of first dogs Barney and Miss Beazley worth $100.

Unfortunately for the recipients, the gifts must be turned over to the General Services Administration in accordance with US law, which bars politicians and officials from accepting personal presents in almost all circumstances.

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