Saudi Envoy Says Women Driving Is a ‘Huge Step’

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Prince Khaled bin Salman, the new Saudi ambassador to Washington, says letting women drive is a “huge step forward” for his country.

He tells reporters in Washington that it was the right time for Saudi Arabia to do the right thing. The ambassador says his government views women driving as a social issue, not a religious or cultural issue.

Salman says women won’t need permission legally from a male guardian to get a driver’s license and won’t need a guardian in the vehicle with them to drive. He says Saudi Arabia will recognize driver’s licenses issued to women in other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

The ambassador says Saudi Arabia isn’t taking the step at the request of the U.S. and that the issue didn’t come up during President Donald Trump’s recent visit to the kingdom.

But the ambassador isn’t commenting on whether Saudi Arabia will take other steps to expand rights for women, such as further relaxing guardian requirements.

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