Saudi Arabia is working secretly on a nuclear programme, with help from Pakistani experts, a German magazine reports in its latest edition, citing Western security sources.
The German magazine Cicero says that during the Hajj pilgrimages to Mecca in 2003 through 2005, Pakistani scientists posed as pilgrims to come to Saudi Arabia in aircraft laid on by the oil-rich kingdom.
Between October 2004 and January 2005, some of them took the opportunity to “disappear” from their hotel rooms, sometimes for up to three weeks, it quoted German security expert Udo Ulfkotte as saying.
According to Western security services, the magazine added, Saudi scientists have been working since the mid-1990s in Pakistan, a nuclear power since 1998 thanks to the work of the now-disgraced Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.
Cicero, which will appear on newstands on Thursday, also quoted a US military analyst, John Pike, as saying that Saudi bar codes can be found on half of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons “because it is Saudi Arabia which ultimately co-financed the Pakistani atomic nuclear programme”.
The magazine also said satellite images prove that Saudi Arabia has set up in Al-Sulaiyil, south of Riyadh, a secret underground city and dozens of underground silos for missiles.
According to some Western security services, long-range Ghauri-type missiles of Pakistani-origin are housed inside the silos.