Al Jazeera reports:
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has praised Saudi women fighting for the right to drive in their country as “brave” but said it was up to Saudi society to determine the way forward.
“What these women are doing is brave and what they are seeking is right,” Clinton said.
Clinton was commenting on the show of defiance displayed by women in the kingdom who are campaigning a against a ban that prohibits women from driving in the kingdom.
On Friday, several woman drove cars in defiance of the ban.
“I am moved by it and I support them,” said Clinton in her first comments on the issue.
Prior to her remarks, the US state department had said that Clinton was engaged in “quiet diplomacy” on the driving ban.
This drew an appeal from a Saudi women’s group for a more forceful US stance.
In a statement emailed to reporters, Saudi Women for Driving said: “Secretary Clinton: quiet diplomacy is not what we need right now.
“What we need is for you, personally, to make a strong, simple and public statement supporting our right to drive.”
While Clinton did praise the women and their efforts she maintained that it was an internal issue.
“This is not about the United States, it is not about what any of us on the outside say,” said Clinton.
“It is about the women themselves and their right to raise their concerns with their own government,” she said.