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25 April, 2024
 
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Saudi Arabia opens first diplomatic liquor store in Riyadh

The historic move marks a shift in alcohol policies, allowing access to non-Muslim diplomats in the conservative nation

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Saudi Arabia has reportedly inaugurated its inaugural liquor store in Riyadh's diplomatic quarter, according to sources familiar with the matter. While not officially confirmed by the Saudi government, this development signifies a notable shift in the conservative Muslim nation, where alcohol has been prohibited since 1952.

Accessible solely to non-Muslim diplomats, the store requires authorization through the Diplo app. Store rules prohibit visitors and those under 21 from entering with consumers, strictly forbid photography and mandate secure phone storage to prevent use while in the store.

A Saudi adviser close to the royal court mentioned that this move is a "small step" towards allowing alcohol sales to non-Muslims in the country, primarily in hotels and other designated venues. Addressing the issue of smuggling, particularly by diplomats, is a key objective behind this initiative. Diplomatic staff, known to import large quantities of alcohol and sell it on the black market, are a concern that the Saudi government aims to mitigate.

Speaking anonymously, a Western diplomat based in Riyadh reported that colleagues who visited the store found it to be "extremely well stocked."

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Cyprus  |  Saudi Arabia  |  Liquor

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