RIYADH: Few people outside Saudi Arabia grasp the scale of the Kingdom’s reform drive, especially in empowering women, a leading US diplomat has told Arab News.
“I was reminded of this … by a prominent Saudi woman, who is happy and proud of the reforms,” said US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.
“She made the excellent point that Saudi women have been strong, capable and educated for a long time.”
The woman told Ortagus that Saudi women wanted their peers in the US to understand them, not feel pity for them. “Saudi women are not in need of being rescued,” Ortagus said,
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Ortagus lived in Saudi Arabia for almost two years after she was appointed deputy US Treasury attache in 2010, and has been revisiting for the first time since then.
“It doesn’t even seem like the same country,” she said. “I didn’t recognize it. I couldn’t believe that it was the same diplomatic quarter that I used to live in 10 years ago — it is totally transformed.”
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Washington would always welcome Saudi input on Middle East issues, she said. “We’d love the Kingdom’s help on things like the peace plan and vision that Jared Kushner has laid out. It may not be a perfect plan, but if we’re ever going to have peace in this region, it’s going to come from Saudi Arabia getting in and being involved.”