Nuclear deal: Pakistan gets free crude oil from Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

ABU DHABI Saudi Arabia has agreed to continue its arrangement to provide free oil to Pakistan as part of their strategic relationship.

Arab diplomatic sources said Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz approved the continuation of an arrangement begun in 1998 for the delivery of free crude oil to Pakistan.

The sources said Saudi oil deliveries to Pakistan were part of a strategic relationship in which Islamabad provided weapons, technical help and a nuclear umbrella over the Saudi kingdom.

Riyad stopped charging Pakistan for most of Saudi oil in 1998 after Western sanctions were imposed on Islamabad. The sanctions were imposed in wake of Pakistan's nuclear weapons tests, Middle East Newsline reported.

Abdullah was said to have reached formal agreement by Pakistan to transfer nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia to help face external threats, particularly those from neighboring Iran.

Abdullah, who visited Pakistan in October, was said to have agreed to continue deferred payments by Pakistan for the Saudi oil. The Saudi loans, estimated at $2 billion, were later turned into grants.

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