Island deal moves peace duties to Saudi: Egypt Official

Transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi sovereignty would make Riyadh party to 1979 Egypt-Israel peace agreement, MP says

Island deal moves peace duties to Saudi: Egypt Official

World Bulletin / News Desk

By handing the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir over to Saudi Arabia, Egypt's commitments as outlined in its 1979 peace treaty with Israel would be transferred in part to the oil-rich kingdom, according to the head of Egyptian parliament’s national defense committee.

“Under the terms of the [1979] peace agreement [between Egypt and Israel], Tiran and Sanafir fall under ‘Area C’,” Major-General Kamal Amer said in an interview published Tuesday in state daily Al-Ahram.

“That means multinational forces were sent to the two islands and that there were no Egyptian forces there,” he said.

“Therefore, [Egypt’s] obligations under the peace treaty [as they pertain to the two islands] should be transferred to Saudi Arabia in the event that the latter assumes sovereignty over Tiran and Sanafir,” he added.

“Transfer of the two islands would have an economic impact on Egypt,” said Amer, who believes that both Tiran and Sanafir rightfully belong to Saudi Arabia.

“According to the second article of the peace agreement [which relates to the demarcation of the Egypt-Saudi maritime border], Egypt would retain the right to 25 percent of the natural resources extracted from the two islands,” he said.

On Wednesday, Egypt's parliament approved the controversial border demarcation agreement, which was initially signed last year between Cairo and Riyadh.

If implemented, the deal would effectively transfer sovereignty over two uninhabited Red Sea islands -- Tiran and Sanafir -- from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.

The deal faces widespread popular opposition and a January ruling by Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court -- since overturned -- rejecting the islands’ proposed transfer to Saudi Arabia.

In April of last year, Cairo first announced plans to transfer the two islands, located at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba between Saudi Arabia and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, to Saudi ownership.

News of the deal prompted a public outcry amid accusations that President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was “selling” Egyptian territory to Saudi Arabia, which since Egypt’s 2013 military coup -- led by al-Sisi -- has given Egypt billions of dollars.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Haziran 2017, 17:33