Saudis Allegedly 'Trying To
Buy Nuclear Weapons'
By Ian Black and Richard Norton-Taylor

Saudi Arabia appears to be seeking nuclear weapons in a devastating blow for non-proliferation efforts in one of the most heavily-armed regions in the world, it emerged last night.
Suspicions that the Saudis were planning to buy nuclear weapons technology were raised privately in diplomatic circles after the kingdom's defence minister, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, toured Pakistan's secret nuclear facilities in May.
The prince toured the Kahuta uranium enrichment plant and missile factory with Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and was briefed by A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's atom bomb.
Concern was underlined yesterday when a senior British official spoke of of "concern" that Saudi Arabia, the most powerful state in the Gulf, may be seeking to acquire a nuclear weapons capability.
Peter Hain, the junior foreign officer minister, has been given an expanded brief including nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation. Last year's Indo-Pakistani tests and the recent tension over Kashmir have added to long-standing worries about North Korea and Iran.
"Proliferation has got to be pushed up the agenda in the interests of everyone," the official said. "What is happening is very serious."
Israel, with a nuclear capacity of between 100 and 200 warheads, and the ballistic missiles to deliver them, has kept western governments informed about the nuclear potential of arab and Muslim states.
India is expressing concern about Pakistan developing an "islamic bomb" and North Korea is threatening to test-fire a new long-range missile and abandon its agreement to freeze its nuclear weapons programme.
The Kahuta site is so sensitive that the former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto has said she was not able to visit the installation during her time in office.
President Clinton is reported to have raised the issue of the spread of nuclear weapons with Sharif when he visited Washington last month for talks on the India-Pakistan crisis over Kashmir.
Diplomatic sources said there was concern Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil producer, might have agreed to finance the Pakistani effort and might try to buy missiles and nuclear know-how.
Pakistan is desperate for for financial aid to prop up its ailing economy.