Saudi Arabia to New Times: 10 Out of 10 Males on Junket is "Coincidence;" Offers "All Female Mayors" Trip

We just received word from the Saudi Arabian embassy following our inquiries about the all-male mayors junket of U.S. Mayors in which Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon taking part.

Interestingly, we hadn't e-mailed the embassy (though perhaps, in hindsight, we should have). Rather, our e-mail to the U.S. Conference of Mayors was referred to Saudi diplomats. The mayors' group still hasn't returned our messages.

Here is what Dr. Abdulmohsen F. Alyas of the Saudi Embassy has to say about the trip:

I'm contacting you regarding the email you sent to the US Conference of Mayors regarding the mayoral delegation trip to Saudi Arabia. For your information, both female and male mayors were invited to visit Saudi Arabia in their trip this week. It was only by coincidence that all mayors on this trip are males. We were delighted to have the mayor of VA beach, who happened to be a woman, in the first mayoral delegation that visited the Kingdom in November of last year.

The trip goals at strengthening business relations between the US and Saudi Arabia, enhance cooperation in municipalities' affairs, and enhance understanding of the politics and culture of a Kay player in the Middle East.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need additional information


Dr. Abdulmohsen F. Alyas

Deputy Director of Information

One of our guiding principles is: "Trust, but verify." Naturally, we e-mailed Alyas back with a request to see the list of mayors who were invited. We'll let you know if the good doctor responds. One thing we can tell you already: Dr. Alyas isn't getting back to us as quick on the follow-up question as he did on the initial e-mail forwarded to him by the mayors' group.

UPDATE: Dr. Alyas next response:

Dear Ray, we will be more than delighted to have all female-mayors
delegation visits the Kingdom. I hope you can help me answer this
question by looking at the percentage of male mayors in comparison to
female mayors in the States...
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.

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