another bullsh!t story exposed

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    Thursday, October 23, 2003 Posted: 0329 GMT (11:29 AM HKT)

    Mahathir is stepping down later this month after more than two decades in power.

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said U.S. President George W. Bush came close to apologizing to him for strong language the U.S. administration used to criticize him for saying Jews rule the world.

    "He did not rebuke me," Mahathir said in an interview during a visit to Indonesia and published Thursday in Malaysia's New Straits Times newspaper. "He came very nearly to apologizing to me for the strong words used."

    In a speech to a summit of Islamic leaders last week, Mahathir said that "Jews rule the world. They get others to fight and die for them."

    Bush and Mahathir had a brief exchange on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Thailand about the Malaysian leader's speech.

    National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice had earlier described the remarks as "hateful." U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell also discussed the remarks with his Malaysian counterpart.

    But the leaders have differed about the details of the conversation.

    A White House spokesman initially said Bush pulled Mahathir aside at the APEC meeting to say the remarks were "wrong and divisive."

    On his way to Australia for a visit, Bush expanded on his conversation with Mahathir, recalling to reporters that he told the Malaysian: "I'm here to inform you that you're going to see that I thought your comments were reprehensible."

    "I said they're divisive and unnecessary. I didn't yell at him. I just told him," Bush said, adding, "He knew how I felt, there's no question about that."

    In the interview, Mahathir said Bush had read the speech containing his comments about Jews, which was made to a summit of Islamic leaders in Malaysia.

    "He had read my speech completely and he understood," Mahathir was quoted as saying. "I did say something about the Jews but I also said a lot of things about the Muslims. So it is a balanced kind of speech. Powell was not upset over my speech."

    Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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