WASHINGTON, Oct 23: The US State Department and a senior Saudi official have once again rejected suggestions that Pakistan has agreed to share nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia in return for oil.

State Department’s deputy spokesman J. Adam Ereli told a briefing on Wednesday afternoon that he had “not seen any information to substantiate what would seem to us to be rather bald assertions”.

A US news agency reported earlier this week that Pakistan has signed a pact with Saudi Arabia, agreeing to provide nuclear technology in return for oil. The report was later also published in a number of American and Indian newspapers.

“We are confident that Pakistan clearly understands our concerns regarding proliferation of nuclear technology, and we would also note that Saudi Arabia is a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, under which it has agreed not to obtain nuclear weapons,” said Mr Ereli.

Meanwhile, a senior Saudi official regretted that the US media had circulated the story without checking the facts. “This story has been going around for 25 years. It is absolutely wrong,” said Adel Al Jubeir, a senior adviser to Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

Talking to reporters in Washington on Thursday Mr Jubeir said: “We have not, do not and will not acquire nuclear capability. We also are not interested in developing biological or chemical weapons. We are not making any weapon of mass destruction.”

He said Saudi Arabia has always believed that the Middle East should be a region free of nuclear weapons.

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