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Saudi Arabia Will Approve Kingdom’s First Alcohol Retailer: Report

Alcohol prohibition is enforced in many Muslim-majority countries.

Saudi Arabia is in the process of approving the first legal alcohol retailer to operate in the conservative Kingdom, according to a Wednesday report by Reuters.

The proposed store, located in the capital city of Riyadh, will limit sales to those persons who are in the country on diplomatic assignments, and access will be "strictly restricted" to non-Muslims.

The report stated that customers will have to register with the foreign ministry for permission to shop at the location and be subject to purchasing quotas.

The article said that any new regulations regarding alcohol consumption by the many privately employed expatriates who reside in the country were unclear.

Although sometimes available on the black-market, alcoholic beverages are strictly forbidden to possess or consume throughout the country. Possession of the substance often results in custodial sentences and the deportation of non-citizens.

Over the last several years, the Saudi government has been in the process of relaxing many of the strict Sharia-inspired laws and regulations that permeate its legal code. Observers have noted that this trend is done to make the nation more appealing to Western tourism and business development.

Related Story: Israeli Tourism Minister Visits Saudi Arabia Marking First Public Visit by Israeli Official

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