King Salman issues decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia

King Salman. (SPA file photo)
Updated 27 September 2017
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King Salman issues decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it would allow women to drive in the Kingdom, in the latest move in a string of social and economic reforms underway in the country.

King Salman issued the decree, according to a royal court statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“The royal decree will implement the provisions of traffic regulations, including the issuance of driving licenses for men and women alike,” the SPA said.

The decree orders the formation of a ministerial body to give advice on the practicalities of the edict within 30 days and to ensure the full implementation of the order by June 2018.

The move was announced on television and also by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Saudi Arabia allows women to drive,” the ministry confirmed on Twitter.

The decree referred to the "negative effects of not allowing women to drive vehicles, and the positive effects envisaged from allowing them to do so" within the context of Islamic laws.

The prohibition is considered a social issue in the Kingdom, as there is no actual law or religious edict that prohibits it. 

For years, the topic has been the center of extensive debate in government, media and social circles.


'Huge step'

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Prince Khaled bin Salman, described the decision of allowing women to drive as a “huge step.”  

“It's not just a social change, it's part of economic reform,” he said. “Our leadership believes this is the right time to do this change because in Saudi Arabia, we have a young, dynamic open society.” 

The ambassador said women will not need to get permission from legal guardians to get a license.

Furthermore, if a woman has a driver’s license in another Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country, she's allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, he said.


Indonesia is ‘guest of honor’ at Janadriyah festival

Indonesia will be the “guest of honor” at 33rd Janadriyah. (SPA)
Updated 16 October 2018
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Indonesia is ‘guest of honor’ at Janadriyah festival

  • National Guard minister thanked King Salman for his patronage of the festival in the village of Janadriyah on the northern outskirts of Riyadh

JEDDAH: Indonesia will be the “guest of honor” country this year at the 33rd Janadriyah festival, the Saudi celebration of heritage and culture, the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh said on Tuesday.

King Salman will patronize the opening ceremony of the festival on Dec. 31. The annual festival is organized by the Ministry of National Guard and is held with an accompanying grand camel race, which is a major attraction.

Minister of the National Guard Prince Khalid bin Abdul Aziz bin Ayyaf, who is also the chairman of the festival’s supreme committee, thanked King Salman for his patronage of the festival in the village of Janadriyah on the northern outskirts of Riyadh.

Prince Khalid said that as in previous years, the 18-day long festival will include many activities including lectures, seminars, and various cultural events for visitors to enjoy.

Aiming to expand its global outreach and find cultural synergies with countries with rich culture and civilization, the Saudi government started inviting a foreign country as the “guest of honor” every year

India was the guest last year, while Egypt was the country honored at Janadriyah 31.