Lawmaker: US seeks Saudi nuclear energy deal

AP News
Posted: Jul 29, 2011 6:28 PM
Lawmaker: US seeks Saudi nuclear energy deal

A House Republican says the Obama administration plans talks with Saudi Arabia about potential civil nuclear power deals.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Friday she was "astonished" the administration would even consider the move. She called Saudi Arabia an unstable country in an unstable region.

She says the administration told Congress it is seeking a so-called 123 Agreement with the Saudis on civil nuclear cooperation. The U.S. has signed about two dozen similar deals with other nations.

A State Department official says the U.S. has offered to discuss possible joint "nuclear activities" under a memorandum of understanding the Saudis signed with the Bush administration in 2008.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.