Malaysia's Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit has fallen into disarray with the failure of US$1,500 billion trade liberalisation talks, a no-show by US President Bill Clinton and violent street protests. In addition to Mr Clinton staying in Washington to handle the Iraqi crisis, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has been prematurely summoned home from the Kuala Lumpur summit. Vice-President Al Gore will take Mr Clinton's seat at the gathering of 21 Pacific Rim leaders aimed at guiding the region out of its crisis. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad expressed his regret that Mr Clinton was unable to attend. Dr Mahathir said: 'If US President Bill Clinton had come here to the APEC leaders' summit, he would have known that contrary to press reports Malaysia is a peaceful country.' This was despite riot police firing tear-gas and water cannon yesterday at pro-reform campaigners, marking a second day of unrest. Ministers and officials yesterday ended five days of heated trade negotiations failing to agree on a proposed fast-track package to liberalise nine trade sectors by the end of next year. The matter will now be referred to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) with the hope of achieving broader consensus support. A new round of WTO talks is due to get under way late next year. Secretary for Trade and Industry Chau Tak-hay described the outcome as 'satisfactory'. Mr Chau said: 'It is not a foregone conclusion that we will not be able to achieve an agreement within 1999.' The main stumbling block has been Japan's refusal to cut tariffs on politically sensitive fish and forestry products, two of the nine trade sectors APEC economies had earmarked for fast-track liberalisation at last year's summit in Vancouver. Once Japan had shown signs of back-tracking, a host of other member countries, including China, expressed interest in diluting their fast-track liberalisation offers in light of the regional crisis. A big obstacle had been a United States law preventing it from liberalising a particular trade sector unless there was a broad consensus of other countries doing the same. The nine sectors, if fully liberalised, would have freed up US$1,500 billion worth of international trade and provided the world economy with a much needed boost. Before leaving Kuala Lumpur last night, Ms Albright carried out her pledge to meet Wan Azizah Ismail, wife of detained former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim. Ms Albright said: 'The United States has made it clear that Anwar Ibrahim is a highly respected leader. He is entitled to due process and a fair trial.' At a joint press conference, Malaysian trade minister Rafidah Aziz said: 'Maybe when I go to the States I'd like to meet Ken Starr.' Ms Albright responded: 'He is not in prison.'