Women drivers will reduce crashes, says interior minister

Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud.
Updated 28 September 2017
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Women drivers will reduce crashes, says interior minister

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s lifting of a ban on women drivers will reduce the number of car crashes, said the Kingdom’s interior minister.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, the interior minister who took over in June, said security forces were ready to apply traffic laws to men and women.
“Women driving cars will transform traffic safety to educational practice which will reduce human and economic losses caused by accidents,” he was quoted as saying on the ministry’s official Twitter feed.
Meanwhile, a government spokesman said Saudi women will be allowed to drive from the age of 18.
Asked on Al Arabiya TV about the minimum age for Saudi women, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said: “Eighteen years is the age at which a person can obtain a driver’s license and drive a car in the Kingdom.”
In a royal decree issued on Tuesday, King Salman ordered an end by next year of the ban on women drivers.
The decree stipulated that the move must “apply and adhere to the necessary Shariah standards.”
The king ordered a ministerial committee to report within 30 days on how to implement the new policy by June 24, 2018.
UN human rights experts praised the ban’s removal as a major step toward women’s autonomy and independence.
While Saudi women have welcomed the lifting of the driving ban, some men have expressed concern it would increase the number of cars on already crowded roads.
A typical middle- to upper-class Saudi family has two vehicles, one driven by the man of the house and a second car in which a full-time chauffeur transports his family.


FII delegates pay tribute to Khashoggi, say ‘terrible act not part of our DNA’

Updated 23 October 2018
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FII delegates pay tribute to Khashoggi, say ‘terrible act not part of our DNA’

RIYADH: Speakers at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh did not shy away from addressing what could otherwise have been the elephant in the room: The death of Jamal Khashoggi.
Numerous speakers had pulled out of the event over the death of the Saudi journalist in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Khashoggi’s death was the result of a “rogue operation” by people acting beyond the scope of Saudi authorities, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Sunday.
Many speakers due to attend the FII — mostly those from Western organizations — had pulled out due to allegations the Saudi government was complicit in Khashoggi’s death.
But speakers at the FII on Tuesday tackled the issue head-on, calling the death “abhorrent” and promising justice. 
“These are difficult days for us in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are going through a crisis, of sorts, resulting from the very regrettable and abhorrent incident that took place in Turkey,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told the audience.
“Nobody in the Kingdom can justify it or explain it. From the leadership on down, we are very upset about what has happened,” he added. 
“The king has made it clear that there will be an investigation, justice and retribution to those responsible.”
The prominent Saudi business executive Lubna Olayan also remarked on the case, saying that the “terrible acts reported in recent weeks are alien to our culture and DNA.” 
Al-Falih said that, despite the ongoing “crisis” due to the case, the ambitious reforms that Saudi Arabia is undertaking would continue. 
“The Kingdom is in the midst of a historic transformation of unprecedented proportions, and the train has moved, and it has moved deliberately toward a transformation journey that will not be stopped,” he said. 
“Those partners who are here with us today, to continue their journey with us are certainly going to look back and find out how the lessons have been learned from the incident, but at the same time how committed the Kingdom is to its partners who stay the course.”