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Trump received more than $23,000 in gifts from MENA leaders in 2019

Former president received portrait of himself worth $4,450 from Egypt's Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and statue of Arabian oryx worth $6,300 from emir of Qatar
Trump and his wife Melania received more than $120,000 worth of presents from foreign leaders in 2019.
Trump and his wife Melania received more than $120,000 worth of presents from foreign leaders in 2019 (AFP)
By MEE staff in Washington

Former US President Donald Trump received nearly $24,000 in gifts from leaders in the Middle East in 2019, according to a new filing published by the State Department on Thursday.

One of the most ornate gifts was a "large double frame carved from black stone" with an image of Trump on one side and the Egyptian coat of arms on the reverse that was given by his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, according to the filing. The gift was valued at $4,450. Sisi also gifted Trump a jewelled collar worth $2,930.

The former president received a bronze sculpture of an Arabian horse valued at $7,200 from Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, and a gold onyx, emerald and diamond statue of an Arabian oryx worth $6,300 from the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hammad al-Thani.

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Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gifted Trump a book of Hebrew songs worth $500.

In total, Trump and his wife Melania received more than $120,000 worth of presents from foreign leaders in 2019, compared with $88,200 the year before, and $140,000 in 2017.

All the gifts delivered to the president and first lady were transferred to the National Archives, including the portrait of Trump.

Aside from Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also received a significant number of gifts from Middle East leaders. He received a total of $17,289 in presents, including a carpet from United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed valued at $9,800.

While Pompeo also handed over all of his gifts, the State Department said it was investigating the apparent disappearance of a whisky bottle worth nearly $6,000 that the former secretary of state received from Japan two years ago.

Qatar gifted $30,000 in watches to US general

The Trump administration had warm ties with a number of countries in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Israel.

The gifts that Egypt's Sisi gave to Trump came just months before the former US president referred to him as his "favourite dictator".

During the final months of his presidency, the UAE signed a US-brokered agreement to normalise ties with Israel.

The agreement, known as the "Abraham Accords", shattered a longstanding Arab consensus that there should be no normalisation with Israel until it reaches a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians.

Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco all followed suit in normalising ties with Israel.

Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law who served as a senior adviser to him and was part of the negotiations for the normalisation deals, received a $3,200 clock from Bahrain's Prince Salman in 2019.

Another significant recipient of gifts was now-retired General Joseph Votel, former commander of US Central Command (Centcom), which oversees American military operations in the Middle East. Centcom's forward headquarters is located at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

The Qatari government gifted Votel more than $30,000 in luxury men and women's watches in 2018 and 2019, including a Rolex timepiece valued at $14,995. Doha also gifted him an iPhone X, worth $1,050, on two separate occasions in 2018.

Votel turned the watches and the smartphones over to the General Services Administration.

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