Entries in King Abdullah (12)


King Abdullah Appoints Women to Advisory Council in Saudi Arabia

FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/GettyImages(RIYADH, Saudia Arabia) -- For the first time in Saudia Arabia, women have been named to the king's advisory body known as the Shura Council. It has no legislative power, but the move is politically significant in the conservative kingdom where women aren't allowed to drive or travel without a male guardian.  

Before the publication of the royal decrees, King Abdullah consulted religious experts to ensure that female participation on the council would comply with Islamic law, BBC News reports.

Women will make up 30 of the 150 members, the bare minimum allowed by the king's decree.

Men and women will be separated by a screen and will come in through a separate entrance, to ensure gender segregation.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Says Violence in Syria Is ‘Unacceptable’

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Syrian regime’s bloody crackdown was at the top of the agenda Tuesday in President Obama’s Oval Office meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah.

“We’re continuing to see unacceptable levels of violence inside that country, and so we will continue to consult very closely with Jordan to create the kind of international pressure and environment that encourages the current Syrian regime to step aside so that a more democratic process of transition can take place inside of Syria,” Obama said following the meeting.

The president thanked Abdullah for being the first Arab leader to publicly call on Syria’s President Assad to step down.

“I want to thank him for his willingness to stand up. As a consequence, Jordan has been part of an overall Arab League effort to encourage this sort of peaceful transition inside of Syria that is needed,” he said.

Obama also pledged to work closely with Abdullah to encourage the Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate a peace accord “in a serious fashion.”

“Although this is still in the very early stages, we have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that we can bring the Israelis and Palestinians out of the impasse that we’re facing,” Abdullah said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jordanian Embassy in Damascus Attacked After King's Comments

LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS) -- One day after Jordanian King Abdullah II told the BBC Syrian President Assad should step down, the Jordanian embassy in Damascus was attacked.

About 100 demonstrators gathered outside the embassy, with three protesters scaling the embassy fence to take down the Jordanian flag.

Multiple embassies in Damascus were attacked after the Arab League voted Saturday to suspend Syria’s membership.

On Monday the Jordanian monarch made these remarks in an interview with the BBC:

“I believe, if I were in his shoes, I would step down,” King Abdullah told the BBC. “If Bashar has the interest of his country, he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


King Abdullah of Jordan: Syria's Assad Should Step Down

KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Jordan’s King Abdullah has a message for Syrian President Bashar al- Assad: Step down.

In an interview with the BBC’s Lyse Doucet, Abdullah joined the chorus of voices asking President Bashar al-Assad to step down. He said that if he was Assad, he would step down in the interest of his people.

Abdullah is the first Arab leader to call for Assad to resign as Syrian president. He suggested that Assad begin a new era of political dialogue before removing himself from office, and ensuring that whomever come behind him be capable of changing the status quo.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


King Abdullah Steps In; No Lashing for Female Saudi Driver

A Saudi woman gets out of a car after being given a ride by her driver. FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images(JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia) -- Just two days after Saudi King Abdullah announced that women in Saudi Arabia would be permitted to vote in 2015, he has now called off the court-ordered lashing of Shaima Ghassaniya. The court sentenced Ghassaniya Monday to 10 lashes after finding the woman guilty of driving a car -- a punishable action for Saudi women.

Neither the royal court nor the Saudi government have issued official statements regarding the overturned sentence, but news spread after Saudi Princess Amira Al Taweel tweeted her reaction.

"Thank God, the lashing of Sheima is cancelled.  Thanks to our beloved King.  I'm sure all Saudi women will be so happy, I know I am," she wrote.

The report has been confirmed by Arab news channel Al Arabiya.

Recently, Saudi women have protested the female driving ban, calling on women throughout the country to operate vehicles in defiance.  Some women have exposed themselves to risks of violence from Saudi men, to drive in protest of the ban.

An actual law forbidding women to drive does not exist in Saudi Arabia, according to The Washington Post. However, conservative religious orders do not allow Saudi women to drive.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Women in Saudi Arabia Allowed to Vote, Run in Future Local Elections

Abid Katib/Getty Images(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) -- Women in Saudi Arabia will be given the right to vote and run in future municipal elections, and will be appointed to the all-male Shura advisory council, King Abdullah announced Sunday.

Women will not be allowed to vote in municipal elections this Thursday, but will be able to in the following municipal elections in 2015.  Women will be appointed to the Shura Council, an advisory body established in 1993 that is selected by the monarch, starting with its next term, the king said.

Abdullah made the announcement Sunday during his annual speech at the opening of the new term of the Shura Council.

“Because we refuse to marginalize women in our society in all roles that comply with Sharia,” Abdullah said, referring to the Islamic law that governs many aspects of life in the kingdom, “we have decided, after deliberation with our senior clerics and others to engage women in the Shura Council as members in line with the Sharia regulations, starting from the next term.  Secondly women have the right to run for municipal council membership.  They also have the right to vote within Sharia regulations.”

Abdullah is known as a reformist in the ultra-conservative nation, but change has been slow-moving.  Women still cannot drive or leave the country unaccompanied, and the sexes are segregated in public.

Over the summer, fueled by social media and recent uprisings in the Arab world, Saudi women took to the capital’s streets in their cars to protest the ban on female drivers.

“[Today's announcement] is definitely an important step forward that there is a promise that women will be allowed to vote in the next municipal election, but not a promise that means anything for the election happening now,” Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, told ABC News.

“This announcement does nothing to address the systematic and institutional discrimination against women which includes not only no right to drive, but no right to make decisions about their everyday lives, including the right to seek an education, the right to employment, the right to travel, the right to open a bank account, even the right to obtain medical care without the permission of a male guardian,” she said.

There is a fear that when 87-year-old King Abdullah dies, the reforms he has put in place will be disregarded.

“It is a promise, it is not actually a legislative reform,” Whitson said.  “It’s not sanctified in any kind of law.  The risk is if the next king comes in and says, ‘We won’t do that after all.’  One of the biggest problems of King Abdullah as a reformer is that the actions that will last beyond his lifetime are really at question and at risk.”

But despite the potentially unofficial nature of the change, the United States was quick to support the decision.

“We welcome Saudi King Abdullah’s announcement today that women will serve as full members of the Shura Council in the next session, and will have the right to participate in future municipal elections.  These reforms recognize the significant contributions women in Saudi Arabia make to their society and will offer them new ways to participate in the decisions that affect their lives and communities,” read a statement from National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor issued Sunday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jordan's King Abdullah Announces Elections But Gives No Timeline

Alex Wong/Getty Image(AMMAN, Jordan) -- In his first televised address since uprisings began nearly six months ago, Jordan’s King Abdullah II announced on Sunday that the government in the future would be elected, not appointed -- a key demand of protesters calling for democratic change.

However, no timeline was given, much to the disappointment of Jordanian activists.

"Today, and on this occasion, we announce our reform vision for the Jordan of the future, in which democracy and popular participation take root as a consistent approach for the sake of building the Jordanian state, in which promoting justice is a purpose, tolerance is a mission and respect for human rights is the goal," Abdullah said.

Abdullah emphasized that the new law should "guarantee the fairness and transparency of the electoral process through a mechanism that will lead to a parliament with active political party representation; one that allows the formation of governments based on parliamentary majority and political party manifestos in the future."

Abdullah also sought to paint himself as one of the people, "and as head of the family, I favor no one individual or group ... or differentiate between them … I am one of you, and I am all for you.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Meets with Jordan's King, Talks Mideast Peace

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Calling it "more vital than ever" that Israelis and Palestinians get back to the negotiating table, President Obama on Tuesday attempted to assure King Abdullah II of Jordan that the United States is still committed to the peace process.

"We both share the view that, despite the many changes, or perhaps because of the many changes that have taken place in the region, it's more vital than ever that both Israelis and Palestinians find a way to get back to the table and begin negotiating a process whereby they can create a -- two states that are living side by side in peace and security."

The president noted that Jordan has an enormous stake in this -- as does the United States.

"We will continue to partner to try to encourage an equitable and just solution to a problem that has been nagging the region for many, many years."

King Abdullah thanked the president for his "continued interest and support on the core issue of the Middle East, which is the Israeli-Palestinian peace."

The two leaders also discussed the broader changes in Libya and the Middle East as well as Egypt and Tunisia, emphasizing that economic reform should be paired with political reform sweeping through the region.

"We both agreed that it's critical that not only does political reform proceed but economic reform accompanies those changes there, because so much of what's taking place has to do with the aspirations of young people throughout the Arab world for their ability to determine their own fate, to get an education, to get a job, to be able to support a family," the president said, "And that means some of the old structures that were inhibiting their ability to progress have to be reworked."

President Obama will deliver a speech Thursday on the uprisings in the Middle East. On Friday, the president is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Saudi Arabia Bans Protests Amid Recent Demonstrations

Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) -- Amid all the recent protest demonstrations that have been taking place in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday that the government has implemented a ban on all protests and marches in the country.

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry made the announcement, informing the public that any attempts to create public disorder would be met with action from the country’s security forces. The ministry says security forces have been authorized to use all measures necessary to ensure that order is maintained. The ban follows recent protests staged in the kingdom’s eastern province during the month of February.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah recently unveiled a host of benefits for citizens in an apparent attempt to prevent protests from breaking out.

Social unrest caused by protests has been common throughout the Middle East and North Africa regions in recent weeks, highlighted by uprisings in Libya and Egypt.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jordan's King Abdullah Fires Cabinet

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(AMMAN, Jordan) – The ripples of the Egyptian uprising, which began with protests in Tunisia that forced the end of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's 28-year reign, are being felt throughout the Arab world.

Jordan's King Abdullah sacked his government on Tuesday amid protests that were directed mainly at Prime Minister Samir Rifai. The new Jordanian government will be tasked with bolstering democracy and "taking practical, swift, and tangible steps to launch a real political reform process, in line with the King's vision of comprehensive reform, modernization and development," according to Jordanian news agency, Petra.

After Egypt, Jordan is United States' second biggest ally in the region and only the second Arab country to recognize Israel.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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