Britain hosts Saudi councilwomen

March 6, 2013 at 12:40 PM

LONDON, March 6 (UPI) -- British Foreign Minister William Hague said he was honored to meet with Saudi lawmakers, including the first women to serve in the legislative assembly.

Hague met with Saudi lawmakers from the newly appointed Shura Council. The Saudi lawmakers included the first three women to serve in the assembly.

"I am particularly pleased that the U.K. was able to host the first official visit overseas by the newly appointed female members," Hague said in a statement. "We value our strong relationship with Saudi Arabia and I look forward to continuing close cooperation in the years ahead."

Saudi King Abdullah swore in 30 women to serve on Shura Council for the first time last month. Women councilmembers have a special seating area and designated entrances and exits to comply with a no-touch policy with male counterparts.

Hague said he welcomed the acceptance from the Saudi leadership as a sign of its commitment to universal rights.

"Female membership of the Shura Council is a milestone for reform of women's rights in Saudi Arabia," he said in a statement.

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