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A Saudi Arabian First: Spokeswoman at Kingdom's US Embassy

  • Associated Press

In this image from video, Fatimah Baeshen, the spokeswoman for the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Washington, speaks during an Associated Press interview.

Saudi Arabia is trying to portray itself as ready to join the ranks of modern, tolerant societies. And to help make that case in Washington, the kingdom is relying on the first woman to serve as the Saudi Embassy's official spokeswoman.

Saudi-born Fatimah Baeshen has spent years living, working and studying in the United States. She tells The Associated Press that she's "a byproduct of the longstanding Saudi-U.S. relationship."

On her first day on the job, the kingdom's rulers issued a decree to let women drive, starting next summer.

That's a step toward erasing what much of the world sees as Saudi Arabia's lagging record on women's rights. Activists are pushing for greater rights and political freedoms.

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