ABU DHABI Ñ 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