Saudi Arabia, US sign nuke energy pact

Posted in Broader Middle East , United States | 17-May-08 | Source: Gulf in the Media

Saudi Gazette

US President George W. Bush held talks with King Abdullah Friday.

Bush, on his second visit to Saudi Arabia this year, discussed with the King aspects of cooperation between the two countries and ways of enhancing them in a way to serve the two countries’ mutual interest.

The two leaders also discussed the developments sweeping the Middle East – especially the Palestinian issue and the situation in Lebanon and Iraq.
The Kingdom and the US signed cooperation pacts in the presence of King Abdullah and President Bush. An agreement on technical cooperation was signed by Interior Minister Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on a peaceful nuclear energy program.

The agreement was signed by Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal and Rice.
“This agreement will pave the way for Saudi Arabia’s access to safe, reliable fuel sources for energy reactors and demonstrate Saudi leadership as a positive non-proliferation model for the region,” a statement earlier issued by the White House said.

The White House said Saudi Arabia had also agreed to two global initiatives, one to combat nuclear terrorism and another to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Earlier, King Abdullah greeted President Bush and first lady Laura Bush on the Riyadh airport tarmac.

They then rode together in a limousine to the King’s horse farm outside Riyadh, the center piece of a visit the White House says is mostly to pay tribute to 75 years of formal ties between Washington and the Kingdom.
“We’re honored to be here,” Bush told Abdullah as they sat side by side inside an elaborate tent.

The King presented a pair of Arabian Oryx to Bush.

President Bush presented a model of a falcon to King Abdullah.
As Bush arrived in Riyadh, oil prices hit a new record high near $ 128.00 a barrel in a volatile global market.

Light, sweet crude for June delivery rose as high as US$ 127.82 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange during the afternoon in Europe, before retreating to US$ 126.28, up US$ 2.16 on Thursday’s close of US$ 124.12.

In London, Brent crude contracts were also higher, up US$ 2.52 to US$ 125.15 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal told reporters that the Middle East peace process will be “discussed in depth” during Bush’s second visit to Riyadh since January.

He said the Saudis will also raise “Israel’s ongoing policy of imposing collective punishment on the Palestinian people and its continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip.”

Bush travels on to Egypt at the weekend to meet Palestinian leaders.