Sunday, July 31, 2011

US plans nuclear talks with Saudi Arabia

US President Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia's king Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud (file photo)

Source: Press TV

Senior officials at the White House have said that the Obama administration is planning to resume talks with Saudi Arabia about a potential nuclear cooperation.

A team of US diplomats are expected to visit the Saudi capital of Riyadh to "discuss the possibility of moving forward on a nuclear cooperation agreement," a congressional aide said on the condition of anonymity, AFP reported.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a lawmaker from the Republican Party has criticized the move, saying that "its ties to terrorists and terror financing alone should rule it out as a candidate for the US nuclear cooperation."

"I am astonished that the administration is even considering a nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia," she added.

Washington and Riyadh signed a tentative agreement on developing civilian nuclear technologies in 2008.

The Obama administration, like its predecessor, has sought to promote nuclear cooperation with allies.

Washington also signed a nuclear cooperation deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2009. The deal meant that the UAE would renounce their plans to enrich and reprocess uranium in exchange of having the right to purchase the material from international suppliers.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has also been pursuing nuclear cooperation agreements with South Korea, Japan, France and Russia.

In February, 2011, France singed a nuclear cooperation deal with Saudi Arabia, offering the kingdom nuclear know-how.

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