In this Nov. 26, 2017 file photo released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman speaks at a meeting of the Islamic Military Counterterrorism Alliance in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Press Agency via AP, File)
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The Saudi Arabian government has begun to award contracts for the development of a huge business zone in the northwest of the country, asking local construction companies to build five palaces there, sources close to the matter told Reuters.The palaces for the king, crown prince and other senior royals, to be located on the Red Sea coast about 150 kilometers (95 miles) west of the city of Tabuk, are among the first contracts awarded for NEOM, said the sources who declined to be named as an official announcement has not yet been made.Saudi Binladin Group, the country's biggest construction firm, has been mandated to build one of the palaces in a sign that it retains the government's support despite the recent detention of some of its owners in a crackdown on corruption, the sources said.Banks have started offering financing facilities to builders of the palaces, one source said.
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