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Saudi denies NEOM will be 'country within a country'

The Silver Spirit cruise ship is pictured anchored off the Sindala island, one of two islands which form Saudi's planned NEOM megaproject on on 29 September 2020 [ANUJ CHOPRA/AFP/Getty Images]
The Silver Spirit cruise ship is pictured anchored off the Sindala island, one of two islands which form Saudi's planned NEOM megaproject on on 29 September 2020 [ANUJ CHOPRA/AFP/Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia yesterday refuted remarks by the head of its futuristic city known as NEOM that the city will have different rules from the rest of the conservative kingdom; functioning like a "country within a country".

This comes after Andrew McEvoy, head of NEOM's tourism sector, was quoted as saying that residents of the $500 billion Red Sea project would be known as "Neomians" rather than Saudis and that alcohol could be sold 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 was quoted as saying by the National.

His comments were refuted by the company developing NEOM, which said the city "is absolutely subject to the sovereignty and systems of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia." It will follow the same rules as all Saudi territories in terms of security, defence and border protection, it added. However, NEOM "will have some special regulations related to investment… in translation of its strategy as part of the Kingdom's Vision 2030."

READ: Apple supplier, Foxconn, in talks to build factory in Saudi Arabia – WSJ

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Middle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUAE
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