UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the US state department on Monday welcomed legislation passed by Kuwaiti lawmakers granting the vote to women.

Kuwaiti women
vote history
"The Secretary-General welcomes the passing by Majlis Al Umma, Kuwait's legislative body, of a law granting women for the first time the right to vote and run for parliament," Annan's spokesman said in a statement.

"The Secretary-General congratulates the people of Kuwait on this historic step," the statement said.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said "We think this is an important step forward for Kuwait, for the women of Kuwait and for the nation as a whole. And certainly the ability of the women of Kuwait now to play a more effective role in the full political life of the nation is a good step forward and one that will help people throughout Kuwaiti society and help women throughout Kuwaiti society,"

Kuwaiti women were granted the right to vote and stand in elections under a historic amendment to the conservative Gulf emirate's election law.