By Arab News
An agreement for Cairo to hand over two Red Sea islands — Tiran and Sanafir — to Saudi Arabia passed an Egyptian parliamentary committee Tuesday, setting the stage for a vote in the house.
Parliament’s legislative committee agreed the treaty after a debate, according to an AFP report.
Parliament’s Defense Committee will also examine the accord before it goes to a general vote. The government has said the islands were Saudi to begin with, but were leased to Egypt in the 1950s.
Opponents of the agreement insist that Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian. Cairo had made the goodwill gesture on the islands during King Salman’s visit to Egypt in April, 2016.
The Egyptian Cabinet had said that the “determination that the two islands fall within Saudi regional waters is the culmination of a six-year process of studies and 11 rounds of negotiations between the two sides.”
The joint Egyptian-Saudi technical maritime border drawing had determined that the islands fell within regional Saudi maritime waters.