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Mideast-Pelosi 3rdLd-Writethru 04-05

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stands watching as she visits the Saudi consultative council accompanied by Sheik Saleh bin Humaid, the head of Saudi consultative council and Imam of Mecca great mosque, during her visit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Thursday.

Pelosi visits ‘legislature’

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Saudi Arabia’s unelected advisory council Thursday, the closest thing in the kingdom to a legislature, where she tried out her counterpart’s chair — a privilege no Saudi woman can have because women cannot become legislators.

Pelosi, the first woman speaker of the House, said she raised the issue of Saudi Arabia’s lack of female politicians with Saudi government officials on the last stop of her Mideast tour, but she refrained from criticizing the kingdom over it.

As Pelosi toured the ornate chamber, controversy over her Wednesday talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad continued. Vice President Dick Cheney said it was "bad behavior on her part" that she gave Assad a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, which Israel later backed away from.

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