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Saudi Arabia Opens First Alcohol Store in Riyadh Exclusively for Diplomats

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Saudi Arabia Opens First Alcohol Store In Riyadh Exclusively For Diplomats

Saudi Arabia, an ultraconservative Muslim country that strictly follows Sharia law, is set to open its first-ever liquor store in the capital city of Riyadh. This milestone move, led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is aimed at opening up the country to tourism and business.

The new alcohol store, located in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter, will exclusively serve non-Muslim diplomats. In order to make a purchase, customers will have to register via a mobile app, obtain a clearance code from the foreign ministry, and adhere to monthly quotas.

Saudi Arabia’s Centre of International Communication (CIC) stated that this initiative is intended to combat the illegal trade of alcohol in the country. The previous unregulated process of importing alcohol goods resulted in uncontrolled circulation within the Kingdom.

The sale and consumption of alcohol are strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia, as per Sharia law. Those found in violation of this law can face severe punishments such as deportation, fines, imprisonment, and even lashes. The ban on alcohol was imposed in the 1950s after a British diplomat was killed by a drunk Saudi prince.

The opening of the liquor store coincides with the implementation of new regulations governing alcohol sales to diplomats in Saudi Arabia. These measures aim to control the importation of alcohol goods through diplomatic channels.

Saudi Arabia’s recent reforms, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman, include allowing women to drive, reopening cinemas, and hosting major music festivals. However, political speech and dissent remain highly restricted in the country.

Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plans to diversify its oil-dependent economy and attract tourism and business investments are highlighted by the ongoing development of the $500 billion futuristic city project called Neom. Reports suggest that alcohol may be served in a beach resort within Neom, though sensitivities remain surrounding this topic.

Rachel Adams

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