Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Saudi Arabia considers ;re selling alcohol to diplomats

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The flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Agency France-Presse

Saudi Arabia is considering authorizing the sale of alcohol to non-Muslim diplomats for the first time, two sources close to the matter who requested anonymity told AFP on Wednesday.

Alcohol will be sold to non-Muslim diplomats who until now could only obtain it through the diplomatic bag, said one of the sources.

The consumption or possession of alcohol, prohibited by Islam, is strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia. It is punishable by fines, prison sentences, public flogging and expulsion from the territory for foreigners.

The social reforms carried out recently in the kingdom (such as diversity in concerts or the opening of cinemas), and the planned hosting of major events such as Expo 2030 or the World Cup football in 2034, are fueling speculation about a possible lifting of alcohol restrictions, at least in specific areas, although authorities rule out any changes at this stage.

A statement from the Saudi government said on Wednesday that the authorities were introducing a new regulatory framework […] to combat the illicit trade in goods and alcoholic products received by diplomatic missions.

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New program will allow the allocation of specific quantities of alcoholic products during entry into the Kingdom. It aims to put an end to an unregulated procedure which gave rise to an uncontrolled exchange of these products in the Kingdom.

Even if the &x27; Alcohol is strictly prohibited in the kingdom, alcoholic drinks are served at foreign missions in Riyadh's diplomatic quarter, while some residents make their own wine. Others turn to the black market, where the price of a bottle of whiskey can reach several hundred dollars on New Year's Eve.

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