Saudi Arabia reaffirms support for empowerment of women

Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi speaks at UN headquarters in New York. (SPA)
Updated 20 June 2019

Saudi Arabia reaffirms support for empowerment of women

  • Kingdom continues to play key role in preserving world peace, says Al-Mouallimi

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia has re-emphasized its commitment to the empowerment of women during a high-profile meeting at UN headquarters in New York.

The Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, told a session of the UN Women Executive Board that 2018 had been “the year of transformation” for the country.

Thanking UN Women for its work in achieving most of the first-year goals of its 2018-2021 strategic plan, he said: “It (2018) saw the adoption of a number of decisions that contributed to the support and empowerment of Saudi women and their access to many new fields.

“The Kingdom values UN Women’s contributions to supporting women’s political rights, empowering them economically and supporting the development of government bodies, corporations, international organizations and policies to provide women with better opportunities and help them benefit from financial services and productive resources.”

Al-Mouallimi told delegates: “This year, Saudi Arabia’s experience was highlighted in two of UN Women’s performance results, ‘women’s leading role in governance systems and their ability to equally benefit from them.’

“The Kingdom’s leadership released many orders to eradicate discriminatory practices against women, such as the decision of April 17, 2017, requiring government bodies not to ask women for consent (from male guardians) when providing them with services.

“A royal decree appointed Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan as the Kingdom’s ambassador to the US, making her the first woman to ever be appointed as an ambassador,” he added.

Al-Mouallimi highlighted the Kingdom’s decision to allow women to drive.

“The Kingdom also launched the ‘Wusool’ program to transport working women, and established a center to help women find daycare to boost their participation in the labor market and support their professional and private stability.”

He pointed to a number of decisions taken by the Saudi judiciary to promote women’s rights, including a 120 percent increase in the number of female attorneys, the establishment of a center dedicated to the implementation of custody provisions to provide an ideal environment, and the setting up of a fund to support divorced women and their children.

Al-Mouallimi commended UN Women for helping member states through capacity building and promoting dialogue, and he stressed the Kingdom’s keenness to boost cooperation with the organization.

In a separate UN session, Saudi Arabia emphasized its central role in preserving world harmony and peace and its international clout as leader of the Islamic world.

Speaking during an informal briefing of member states on the UN strategy and plan of action on hate discourse, which was held at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) meeting, also at the UN headquarters, Al-Mouallimi told attendees that the world was facing many challenges.

He said tolerance, understanding and discussion were key factors in resolving those challenges, and he referred to a Muslim World League conference held last May at the UN’s New York offices, which saw senior religious leaders from various faiths, prominent intellectuals, politicians, civil and government officials from around the world, gathering with the single aim of overcoming the discourse of hatred.

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 55 min 8 sec ago

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war.
But the Wall Street Journal has reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.