Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saudi King appoints first woman to council

(CNN) -- Saudi King Abdullah has appointed a woman to the council of ministers for the first time as part of a Cabinet reshuffle, networks including Saudi state-run Channel One reported Saturday.

Saudi King Abdullah has appointed a woman to his council of ministers for the first time.

Saudi King Abdullah has appointed a woman to his council of ministers for the first time.

King Abdullah announced a new supreme court chief, minister of health, justice minister and information minister as part of the reshuffling, according to Channel One.

King Abdullah appointed Noor Al-Fayez to the Saudi Council of Ministers. She will serve in a new position as deputy minister for women's education.

"People are very excited about this," said Khaled Al-Maeena, editor-in-chief of Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia. "This sends a clear signal that the King means business. Instead of appointing some bureaucrat, he appointed a woman."

Jamal Khashoggi, editor-in-chief of Al-Watan Daily newspaper, told CNN the reshuffle signals a major change in his country.

"This is a huge step forward, in education, women's place in society," said Khashoggi.

The new appointments are the largest council shakeup since King Abdullah took power in 2005.

Maeena also said the other new appointments by King Abdullah were very "progressive" moves.

Some other new appointments were:

-- Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed, new minister of education

-- Faisal Al-Moammar, new deputy minister of education

-- Sheikh Mohammed Al-Isa, new minister of justice

-- Abdulaziz Al-Khowja, new minster of culture and information

-- Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, new minister of health

-- Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Humain, new head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice

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