New rules on alcohol in Saudi Arabia have been revealed ahead of the reported opening of the first-ever liquor store in the capital Riyadh.
The rules regulating alcohol quotas for non-Muslim diplomatic missions are being introduced to “counter the illicit trade of alcohol goods,” the governmental Center of International Communication (CIC) said in a statement.
Reuters cited a source familiar with the plans, and a document, saying that Saudi Arabia is preparing to open its first alcohol store in the capital Riyadh which will serve exclusively non-Muslim diplomats.
In response to the Reuters report, the CIC told CNN that a “new process will focus on allocating specific quantities of alcohol goods when entering the Kingdom to put an end to the previous unregulated process that caused an uncontrolled exchange of such goods in the Kingdom.”
The CIC did not clarify if a shop will be opened but said the new “regulatory framework has been introduced to counter the illicit trade of alcohol goods and products received by diplomatic missions,” the CIC said.
Alcohol sale and consumption in Saudi Arabia is strictly forbidden, and is punishable by lashes, deportations, fines and imprisonment.
However, the nation under Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman has moved towards the remodeling of its tourism industry as part of a grand vision to diversify the economy. That has led to speculation that it could legalize alcohol in the Kingdom in the near future.
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