Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday that combating terrorism will help increase freedom for women in Arab countries of the Middle East.
“I think the way you address those human rights issues and women’s rights issues is to improve the conditions in the region,” said Tillerson in responding to questions by “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “And today conditions in the region are under a lot of stress because of the threat of terrorism, the threat that Iran poses to instability in the region.”
Tillerson said President Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia this week raised these subjects, “and there are efforts under way to, I think, improve the rights of women, the participation of women in society throughout the region.”
Wallace had cited Trump’s campaign rhetoric about the Muslim world, and asked: “Given that past rhetoric, why should Muslim leaders trust Mr. Trump now?”
Tillerson responded by saying “I think there’s great recognition among all the leaders of the Muslim world that they have to take responsibility for what has happened in many respects. And they are taking responsibility.”
He said “one of the great attributes of this president, is that he is willing to call issues out, confront them, speak very plainly and bluntly about them.”
Tillerson added that it’s an attribute that “motivates these countries to want to understand why the feelings in the U.S. are the way they are, but also to engage.”