By Nicole Gaouette and Elise Labott, CNN
Washington (CNN) Saudi Arabia is easing restrictions on women driving, finally allowing almost half its population to get behind the wheel.
A royal decree has been issued that will allow women in the country to drive, the Saudi Foreign ministry said Tuesday on its official Twitter account. A committee has been formed to implement the ruling and it will present recommendations within 30 days. Then the government will have until June 24, 2018, to implement the new decree.
State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said the US “would certainly welcome that” news.
“This is a historic big day in our kingdom,” Prince Khaled bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, said Tuesday in a briefing with reporters.
The move to ease restrictions on women has huge implications for the Saudi economy and women’s ability to work. It is just the latest in a series of changes that have been rippling through Saudi Arabia since the rise of 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.