Saudi Arabia to allow sale of alcohol to non-Muslim diplomats

The Saudi Arabian Government has reportedly agreed to allow the sale of alcohol to non-Muslim diplomats for the first time. Two sources familiar with the plan told AFP that Alcohol “will be sold to non-Muslim diplomats” who previously had to import alcohol via a diplomatic pouch. Customers will have to register via a mobile app, get a clearance code from the foreign ministry, and respect monthly quotas with their purchases, said the document, which was seen by Reuters. Prohibition has been the law of the land in Saudi Arabia since 1952, shortly after one of King Abdulaziz's sons got drunk and, in a rage, shot dead a British diplomat. But a Saudi government statement on Wednesday said authorities were introducing "a new regulatory framework... to counter the illicit trade of alcohol goods and products received by diplomatic missions". The statement added: "The 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 policy "will continue to grant and ensure that all diplomats of non-Muslim embassies have access to these products in specified quotas." The statement indicated that not much would change immediately for the vast majority of Saudi Arabia's 32 million people, who have few ways to imbibe unless they are willing to travel abroad.
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