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BREAKING: Egypt parliament votes yes to transfer of Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia
Published in Amwal Al Ghad on 14 - 06 - 2017

Egypt's House of Representatives has voted Wednesday in favour of the controversial maritime border demarcation deal which places the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir, currently administered by Egypt, in Saudi Arabia's territorial waters.
Both the house's Constitutional and Legal Affairs and Defence and National Security committees approved Tuesday the agreement, after a three-day, often raucous review during which lawmakers got into heated arguments, pushed and shoved each other, and came close to blows.
In April 2016, the Egyptian government signed a border-demarcation deal with Saudi Arabia, according to which the strategic islands of Tiran and Sanafir were identified as being under Saudi control. The Egyptian government claimed that the islands had always been Saudi territory, despite Egyptian guardianship.
The agreement sparked vocal opposition in Egypt and has been the subject of ongoing legal battles, with courts issuing conflicting rulings amid disputes over which court has jurisdiction in the case.
The island of Tiran, a popular destination for Red Sea divers, controls a narrow shipping lane that leads to and from the ports of Eilat and Aqaba, in Israel and Jordan respectively. Egypt's unilateral closure of that lane was among the main reasons behind the outbreak of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, in which Egypt lost the entire Sinai Peninsula.


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