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Saudi to open alcohol store for non-Muslim diplomats

Saudi Arabia's first alcohol shop will be located in the diplomatic quarter in Riyadh Creative Commons/Dennis S Hurd
Saudi Arabia's first alcohol shop will be located in the diplomatic quarter in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia will open its first alcohol store in Riyadh that will be available exclusively to non-Muslim diplomats, according to several media reports.

Customers will have to register through a mobile app, get a clearance code from the foreign ministry, and respect monthly purchase quotas, Reuters reported, citing a document.

The foreign affairs ministry is informing the diplomatic missions in the kingdom of the new measures, Arab News said, citing sources.

The new regulations framework is being implemented as per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 and will curb the uncontrolled import of “special goods and liquors” within the diplomatic consignments, the Riyadh-headquartered newspaper said.

The new store is located in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter and will open in the coming weeks, Reuters said.

Only diplomats who have been registered will be permitted to enter the alcohol shop, Financial Times said, citing the store guidelines.

The guidelines stated that photography will be prohibited and mobile phones will be secured in special bags while shoppers are in the store.

A points system will be followed to restrict monthly alcohol sales for registered individuals, allowing for up to 40 litres of spirits, 80 litres of wine or 240 litres of beer.

The Saudi government confirmed reports that it was imposing new restrictions on alcohol imports within diplomatic consignments, the Center of International Communication (CIC) told Reuters in a statement, without detailing the planned alcohol store.

“This new process will continue to grant and ensure that all diplomats of non-Muslim embassies have access to these products in specified quotas,” the CIC added.

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