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Ex-Singapore PM Accuses Al Gore

November 30, 1998

SINGAPORE (AP) _ Singapore’s former prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, has lashed out at Al Gore, accusing the vice president of being rude to Malaysia’s leader.

Gore was ``ostentatiously rude″ to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad during the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Kuala Lumpur, Lee said in the Dec. 7 edition of Newsweek magazine, which arrived at newsstands today.

With Mahathir looking on, Gore praised Malaysian supporters of former deputy prime minister and reformer, Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar is on trial for abuse of power and sexual misconduct.

Following the controversial address, Gore left the room after hastily shaking hands with Mahathir.

``Walking out before dinner and shaking hands in a stiff manner were designed to offend,″ Lee told the magazine. ``Gore didn’t spit Mahathir in the face, but he came pretty close.″

In a radio interview last week, Lee joined a chorus of criticism from other Asian leaders over Gore’s remarks and behavior at the Malaysian summit. He argued that if Gore had at least stayed for dinner, ``maybe it would have been seen in perspective.″

Lee, who was prime minister for 31 years, still wields enormous influence in Singapore and the region. The city-state of 3 million people is an important regional ally of the United States.

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