Egypt parliament committee okays transfer of 2 islands

Last year, Cairo announced controversial plan to transfer sovereignty of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia

Egypt parliament committee okays transfer of 2 islands

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Egyptian parliament’s legislative and constitutional committee on Tuesday approved a maritime border demarcation agreement signed in April of last year between Cairo and Riyadh.

Under the agreement’s terms, sovereignty over two Red Sea islands -- Tiran and Sanafir -- would be transferred from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.

The deal was approved by most committee members, with 35 lawmakers voting in favor and eight against.

Following Tuesday’s vote, the committee referred the agreement to parliament, where lawmakers will vote on it on an as-yet-unspecified date.

In separate press statements, parliamentary sources said Tuesday’s committee vote had confirmed the agreement’s constitutionality.

The agreement, they added, must now be debated by parliament’s defense and national security committee before it can be put to a general vote in the assembly.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Omar Marwan, for his part, said the defense committee would now prepare a final report on the agreement, which would then be submitted to parliament.

Earlier this year, Egypt’s High Administrative Court issued a ruling confirming Egypt’s sovereignty over the two islands and rejecting their proposed transfer to Saudi Arabia.

With its ruling, the court -- Egypt’s highest judicial body for appeals -- rejected a government appeal lodged against an earlier verdict delivered last summer.

In April of last year, Cairo announced plans to transfer the two islands -- which had been under Egyptian sovereignty for more than six decades -- to Saudi ownership.

The move prompted a public outcry amid accusations that President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was "selling" Egyptian territory to the oil-rich kingdom, which since 2013 has given billions of dollars to Egypt to shore up the country’s faltering economy.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Haziran 2017, 01:14