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Pak-Saudi N-pact signed: Report
October 21, 2003 14:50 IST
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have concluded a secret agreement on nuclear cooperation, reports UPI Editor-in-Chief Arnaud de Borchgrave.
"It will be vehemently denied by both countries, but future events will confirm that Pakistan has agreed to provide KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] with the wherewithal for a nuclear deterrent," Borchgrave quotes an 'unimpeachable source' in Islamabad as saying.
"In a lightning, hastily arranged, 26-hour 'state visit' in Islamabad, Crown Prince Abdullah Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, flew across the Arabian Sea with an entourage of 200, including Foreign Minister Prince Saud and several cabinet ministers. The pro-American Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan, who is next in line to succeed to the throne after Abdullah, was not part of the delegation. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf met Abdullah at the airport and saw him off Sunday night with a 21-gun salute," said Borchgrave
In Washington, Mohammed Sadiq, Pakistan's deputy chief of mission, said the report about Pakistan and Saudi Arabia reaching agreement on nuclear cooperation was totally wrong. "This is against our policy," Sadiq told UPI. "Pakistan would never proliferate its nuclear technology. It's a very clear policy. This was not even discussed in the talks we held with the Saudis in Islamabad this week. It was not even on the agenda. It is out of the question."
The CIA believes that Pakistan exported nuclear know-how to North Korea in exchange for missile technology. Last year, a Pakistani C-130 was spotted by a satellite loading North Korean missiles at Pyongyang airport. Pakistan said this was a straight purchase for cash and denied a nuclear quid pro quo.
"Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia," the Pakistani source explained, "see a world that is moving from non-proliferation to proliferation of nuclear weapons," says Borchgrave.
Pakistan, under the late dictator General Zia ul-Haq decided to pursue the nuclear option following India's first nuclear test in 1974. Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is now estimated at between 35 and 60 weapons.
"The Sunni Saudis have concluded that nothing will deter Shiite Iran from continuing its quest for nuclear weapons. Pakistan, on the other hand, is openly concerned about the recent armaments agreement between India, its nuclear rival, and Israel, a long-time nuclear power whose inventory is estimated at between 200 and 400 weapons. Iran and India, located on either side of Pakistan, have also signed a strategic agreement whose aim is regarded with suspicion in Islamabad," says Borchgrave.
Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali is scheduled to fly to Tehran later this week.
To counter what Pakistani and Saudi leaders regard as a multiregional threats, they have decided quietly to move ahead with a two-way exchange -- free or cheap oil for nuclear know-how and expertise, Borchgrave concludes.