Saudi denies NEOM megacity will be ‘country within a country’

Saudi denies NEOM megacity will be ‘country within a country’

Saudi denies NEOM megacity will be ‘country within a country’

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Saudi Arabia on Monday rejected claims that its deliberate futuristic megacity called NEOM may have exclusive rules from the rest of the conservative nation and function like a “united states inside a rustic”.

In an interview published last week via the UAE’s The National newspaper, Andrew McEvoy, head of NEOM’s tourism area, become quoted as saying that residents of the $500 billion Red Sea assignment might be referred to as “Neomians” in preference to Saudis and that alcohol — lengthy banned in Saudi Arabia — should probably be offered there.

“NEOM will be treated as a country within a country, with its own economic zone and its own authority. We need to make sure its laws and regulations match the ambitions of those we are trying to attract to work and live here,” McEvoy said.

The company developing NEOM responded with a statement stressing the site was “absolutely subject to the sovereignty and systems of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, according to a report by the official Saudi Press Agency.

NEOM will be “subject to all rules that are applied to any part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in terms of issues related to security, defense, and border protection”, the report said.

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The report allowed, though, that NEOM “will enjoy some special regulations related to investment”.

NEOM is part of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy.

It has been billed as a futuristic cityscape evocative of a sci-fi blockbuster — with everything from flying taxis to robot maids.

It will operate under its own founding law that is still being formulated.

A senior legitimate told that ultimate October that NEOM became on course to welcome its first corporations and residents by using 2025.

Officials say its populace will finally pinnacle one million humans.

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In his interview with The National, McEvoy stated NEOM’s first visitor attractions could open in 2024, and that alcohol was “truly not off the desk”.

“We need to be competitive, and to do that, we have to match what competing destinations are offering,” he said.

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