Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has said that there is an urgent need to end the ban on women driving in his country as it was a matter of women's rights and an economic necessity.
“Stop the debate: Time for women to drive,” Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said on his official Twitter account, @Alwaleed_Talal.
Alwaleed is known to be an unusually outspoken member of the Saudi royal family.
He holds no political posts but chairs Kingdom Holding Co., which has interests including US banking giant Citigroup and the Euro Disney theme park.
In support of his short tweet, Alwaleed's office issued an unusually long statement late Tuesday outlining his reasons for supporting an end to the ban.
"Preventing a woman from driving a car is today an issue of rights similar to the one that forbade her from receiving an education or having an independent identity," the statement said.
"They are all unjust acts by a traditional society, far more restrictive than what is lawfully allowed by the precepts of religion" it added.
The statement also detailed the "economic costs" of women having to rely on foreign private drivers or taxis, since public transit is not a viable alternative in the kingdom.
“Using foreign drivers drains billions of dollars from the Saudi economy,” the statement said.