Saudi Cabinet: Mideast countries have right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman chairs the weekly Cabinet meeting in Riyadh on Monday. The king also received Speaker of Niger’s Parliament Ousseini Tinni and his accompanying delegation in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 11 October 2016

Saudi Cabinet: Mideast countries have right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes

RIYADH: The Cabinet, in its weekly meeting on Monday, reiterated Saudi Arabia's belief in the legitimate right of Middle Eastern countries to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, under supervision of and according to the International Agency for Atomic Energy standards.
The Kingdom gave voice to this belief just before the 71st UN General Assembly meeting discussing the importance of implementing the Agreement on Barring the Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria.
The Cabinet also reviewed the outcome of the Arab League's extraordinary meeting, held at permanent representatives level, to discuss the serious situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
It acknowledged the Kingdom's assertion that it is important for Arab countries to stand by the Syrian people and exert all possible efforts, at the international level, to provide safe havens where relief can be delivered for civilians
The Cabinet asked the international community to break its silence over the crimes committed by the Syrian regime.
The Cabinet’s meeting was chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, who briefed the ministers on the outcomes of his talks and meetings with Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, Italian defense minister, Japanese minister of economy, trade and industry and Japanese minister of state for foreign affairs.
During those meetings, bilateral relations as well as the developments in the regional and international arenas were discussed, as was the oral message received by the monarch from President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger.
The Cabinet praised the results of Al-Khaleej (Gulf) 1 shield maneuvers, which were carried out by the Saudi royal naval forces — Eastern Fleet — in the Arab Gulf and Oman Sea waters, across the Hormuz Strait as well as the joint aerial drill dubbed Al-Jazeerah (peninsula) conducted by Eagle (2016 fighters) in the UAE with the participation of air forces of the GCC member states.
Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qassabi, who is also acting minister of culture and information, said in a statement to SPA after the meeting that the Cabinet discussed the Kingdom's participation in the joint annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF, and the meeting of the G20, which were held in Washington, and highlighted the efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia to implement economic reforms as part of the national transformation program to achieve the Kingdom's Vision 2030.
He asserted that the application of these reforms is bound to yield a strong, balanced and sustainable economic growth, and to activate the role of the private sector in enhancing job opportunities and economic growth.
The minister said the Cabinet welcomed the outcome of the 28th GCC justice ministers' meeting, held in Riyadh, underscoring the importance of completing a study on transferring the current guiding systems to unified systems and laws as per the GCC supreme 36th summit, and based on the king’s vision.
The Cabinet was briefed on a host of activities and events held last week, including the agreement signed by the Ministry of Housing to construct more than 10,000 residential units in Tarout and Safwa centers in Qatif, the MoU signed by the Kingdom with Bulgaria in the fields of tourism and heritage, the 10th meeting of the general prosecutors and attorneys, as well as heads of investigation and general prosecution commissions of the GCC countries in addition to the symposium organized by the Global Union for General Transportation for the Middle East and North Africa under the theme Efficiency of Consuming Fuel and Alternative Energy.

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving

Updated 24 June 2018

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving

  • They start their engines and hit the roads throughout the Kingdom
  • End of driving ban is crowning achievement so far of Saudi Vision 2030

Women throughout Saudi Arabia waited for the stroke of midnight, turned the keys in the ignition, fired up their engines — and hit the road to a bright new future.

It was the moment they had waited for since King Salman issued the royal decree on September 26, 2017, to lift the driving ban on women. 

Just after midnight on Saturday and in the first minutes of Sunday, Samah Algosaibi grabbed the keys to her family’s 1959 Corvette C1 and drove out of the driveway of her beach house in Khobar.
“We are witnessing history in the making as we look toward the dawn of a promising future,” said Algosaibi, the first female board member of Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros.

“As a businesswoman in Saudi Arabia, I am grateful for the women’s empowerment movement taking place. Today, I am honored to be sitting behind the wheel of change.”

Another woman to hit the road after midnight was Lina Almaeena, a member of the Saudi Shoura Council. “It feels very liberating,” she said about driving her mother’s Lexus.
Almaeena, also the co-founder and director of Jeddah United Sports Co, had exchanged her UAE license for a Saudi one. 

“I am thrilled!” Sarah Alwassia, 35, a nutritionist in Jeddah, told Arab News. “I learnt how to drive 18 years ago in the States where I got my driving license. I can’t believe that the day to drive in my own home town has come.”

Alwassia obtained her first American license when she was 18 years old in 2000, and had it exchanged for a Saudi license on June 6 in Jeddah. She explained that she is a mother, and this change provided comfort for her and her family. It also comes with various benefits, such as taking quick action in emergencies, and economic benefits such as saving money instead of paying for a driver when she needs to run errands. 

“I will be driving my kids to school and picking them up in comfort and privacy,” she said.

Women in the Kingdom commented on how this event is changing the course of their lives. “Independence is a huge thing for me,” Alwassia said. “Driving is one small part of it. I am very optimistic of the change that our loving country has made.”  

Alwassia applauds the efforts the country has made to support women. “I am confident that driving in the beginning will be pleasant, since our country has made all of the effort to support women and to protect them.
“I think our society was looking forward for this change, and I am sure the majority will adapt fast.

“I feel safe, our country did everything to make this transition pleasant and safe for every woman behind the wheel. I am really thankful to witness this historic moment and I am so happy for all the women in Saudi Arabia, especially my daughters.”
Sahar Nasief, 64, a retired lecturer from the European languages and Literature Department at King Abdulaziz University, said: “Nothing could describe my feelings. I can't wait to get on the road.”
Nasief received a very special gift from Ford for this occasion.

“They gave me a 2018 Expedition to drive for three days, a Mustang California Special,” she told Arab News.

Nasief obtained her Saudi license on June 7. She also holds a British license and two American licenses. “Now, I have my national license too,” she said. 

She also said the lifting of the ban provided a sense of relief. “I feel that I can practice one of my rights, and I don't have to live at the mercy of my driver any more.”
Society has been demanding such a change for years, “as it will take the physical and economic burden off most men.”
Pointing to the anti-harassment law, Nasief said: “I feel very confident especially after announcing the strict harassment law.”
Joumana Mattar, 36, a Jordanian interior designer, exchanged her Jordanian driver’s license and obtained a Saudi one on June 11. 

“I had my Jordanian license since I was 18 years old, and the moment I heard about the opening of exchanging foreign licenses, I immediately booked an appointment,” she said.
Mattar said she looks forward to the change in so many ways. “I'm finally in control of my time, schedule and privacy.” 

Mattar said she is both confident and anxious about the event. “I'm anxious only for feeling that I'm part of a huge first step for women driving in the Kingdom, but I'm confident also because of the support that I'm getting from my husband and family.
“Every first step is the hardest. Society is facing a huge change, but I'm positive because this change is done and supported by the government and Vision 2030.”

Mattar said she feels secure now. “I'm in control of any case I'm facing.”

• Download our free #SaudiWomenCanDrive mobile phone background designed by renowned artist Malika Favre: