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Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it has delayed by three days the launch of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects as the oil-reliant kingdom seeks to diversify.

King Salman had been scheduled on Wednesday to launch construction of the 334-square kilometer project in Qiddiya, southwest of Riyadh, touted as the kingdom’s answer to Disneyland.

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“King Salman will inaugurate next Saturday the Qiddiya project, which is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the kingdom,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency said, without explaining the delay.

Construction for the first phase of development, which would include high-end theme parks, motorsport facilities, and a safari area, is expected to be completed in 2022, officials say.

The facility highlights a “relentless effort to develop giga-projects that will help achieve many direct and indirect economic returns”, project official Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi was quoted as saying in a government statement on Monday.

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