Saudi Arabia To Open First Liquor Store For Foreign Diplomats: Report

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Saudi Arabia To Open First Liquor Store For Foreign Diplomats: Report

Saudi Arabia is set to build its first liquor store in the capital, Riyadh, to serve only non-Muslim diplomats, according to a Reuters source and a document seen on Wednesday. 

According to the paper obtained by Reuters, customers must register via a mobile app, obtain a clearance code from the foreign ministry, and adhere to monthly restrictions while making purchases. 

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Who is introducing these changes?

The capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh
The capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh | Image: Unsplash

The move is a significant step in the kingdom’s efforts, led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to open the ultra-conservative Muslim country to tourism and industry, as alcohol consumption is prohibited in Islam.

It is also part of a larger plan called Vision 2030 to create a post-oil economy.

The new store, located in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter, a neighbourhood populated by embassies and diplomats, will be “strictly restricted” to non-Muslims, according to the paper. 

It was unclear whether other non-Muslim expatriates would have access to the store. Millions of expats live in Saudi Arabia, although the majority are Muslim labourers from Asia and Egypt. 

When is the store going to open?

Alcohol has allegedly only been available via diplomatic mail or on the illegal market
Alcohol has allegedly only been available via diplomatic mail or on the illegal market | Image: File

A source familiar with the planning claimed the store will open in the coming weeks.

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Saudi Arabia has strong rules prohibiting alcohol consumption, which can result in hundreds of lashes, expulsion, fines, or imprisonment, and expats face deportation. As part of the revisions, whipping has been mostly replaced by jail terms. 

How have people consumed alcohol so far?

Alcohol has allegedly only been available via diplomatic mail or on the illegal market. As per reports, the Saudi authorities did not respond to a request for comment. 

The new policy will limit imports
The new policy will limit imports | Image: BCCL

This week, state-controlled media reported that the government was placing additional limitations on alcohol imports into diplomatic consignments, perhaps increasing demand for the new store. 

The new policy will limit imports to prevent “improper exchange of special goods and alcoholic beverages received by the embassies of non-Muslim countries inside Saudi Arabia,” Arab News reported on Sunday. 

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Source: tit.edu.vn

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