Saudi Arabia on schedule to lift driving ban on women as planned on June 24

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A Saudi woman practices driving in Riyadh, on April 29, 2018, ahead of the lifting of a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia in the summer. In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a ban on women driving — the only one of its kind in the world — as of June 2018. (AFP/Yousef Doubisi)
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A Saudi woman practices driving in Riyadh, on April 29, 2018, ahead of the lifting of a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia in the summer. In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a ban on women driving -the only one of its kind in the world — as of June 2018. (AFP / Yousef Doubisi)
Updated 08 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia on schedule to lift driving ban on women as planned on June 24

  • Women 18 years of age and older will be allowed to apply for a driver’s license
  • Driving schools for women have been set up across five cities in the kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi women will be allowed to start driving in the kingdom from June 24, the General Department of Traffic Director General Mohammed Al-Bassami said on Tuesday.
“All the requirements for women in the kingdom to start driving have been established,” Bassami was quoted as saying in a statement released by the government.
In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a decades-long ban on women driving — the only one of its kind in the world.
Women 18 years of age and older will be allowed to apply for a driver’s license, Bassami said.
Driving schools for women have been set up across five cities in the kingdom, and teachers will include Saudi women who obtained their licenses abroad.
Women with foreign driving licenses will be able to apply for a local one through a separate process, which will also assess their driving skills.
“It is no secret that many women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hold driving licenses from abroad,” the statement added.
Saudi women have previously petitioned the government for the lifting of the ban, and even taken to the wheel in protest.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, is seen as the force behind the lifting of the ban, part of a series of reforms being pushed by the powerful royal in the conservative kingdom.
His Vision 2030 reform plan for a post-oil era seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from about 22 percent now.
The decision to allow women to drive could give them the much-needed mobility to join the workforce.
Saudi women now no longer need male permission to start business.
But Saudi activists say social change will only be cosmetic without dismantling the kingdom’s rigid guardianship system, which requires women to seek permission from a male relative to study, travel and other activities.


Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

Updated 23 May 2019
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Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

  • The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting
  • Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE will participate in a conference next month in Bahrain aimed at encouraging investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as part of US President Donald Trump’s long–awaited Israel–Palestine peace plan. 

The Peace to Prosperity conference, to be hosted on June 25–26 in cooperation with the US, has already been rebuffed by Palestinian officials and business leaders, who want their political demands met by any proposed solution to the conflict.

The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting.

The Saudi minister of economy and planning, Mohammed bin Majid Al–Tuwaijri, will attend, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said Abu Dhabi would also send a delegation.

The Palestinian Authority has boycotted American peace efforts since late 2017, when Trump decided to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the latter as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of US policy.

The Trump administration has sought to enlist support from Arab governments.

But Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands, which include affirming East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, the right of return for refugees, and a freeze on Israeli settlement construction.