President Obama waves goodbye from the steps of Air Force One as he departs Saudi Arabia on his way to Egypt, June, 2009
AP: ..Foreign leaders showered President Obama and his family with hundreds of thousands of dollars in art, jewelry, rare books and other presents during their first year in the White House.
Saudi Arabia’s king was the most generous gift-giver, according to documents released by the State Department on Tuesday. Saudi King Abdullah gave Obama, his wife and daughters nearly $190,000 in luxury baubles in 2009, including the single most valuable gift reported to have been given to U.S. officials that year: a ruby and diamond jewelry set, including earrings, a ring, a bracelet and necklace, for the first lady worth $132,000.
…By law, most gifts to U.S. officials must be turned over to the government and the jewelry has already been sent to the National Archives.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was a distant runner up to King Abdullah, with gifts for the first family worth a little under $33,000. The Italian haul included silk ties, a gold watch, a crystal table and candlesticks…….the Saudi monarch also presented Michelle Obama with a $14,200 pearl necklace. He gave the president a marble clock adorned with miniature gold palm trees and camels valued at $34,500. He sent first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama diamond earrings and necklaces worth more than $7,000.
Chinese President Hu Jintao gave Obama a $20,000 silk embroidery of the first family….French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife sent perfume and a $4,500 black Christian Dior handbag …Some leaders chose more modest gifts. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth presented Obama with framed portraits of herself and her husband, Prince Philip, worth $775….Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered the U.S. leader $521 in gifts, including the least expensive item listed by the State Department: a $75 bottle of olive oil.