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Egypt’s Sisi Ratifies Maritime Border Deal with Saudi Arabia | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi speaks during a press conference (AFP/Simon Maina)

Cairo – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ratified a maritime demarcation agreement that sees his country relinquish sovereignty over two uninhabited Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, the government said in a statement on Saturday.

Member of Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs Ayman Salamah stated that the agreement will be put into effect as soon as the ratification documents have been exchanged between the two countries. He explained that the procedure is more likely to be done during an official ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, since it was initially signed last year between the two countries in Cairo.

Salamah told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that in case the ceremony didn’t take place, the ratification documents could be exchanged via diplomatic channels.

On June 14, Egypt’s parliament approved the border demarcation agreement.

Parliament Speaker Ali Abdelaal announced the parliament’s approval of the agreement after the vote.

When implemented, the deal would effectively transfer sovereignty over the two uninhabited Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, at the southern entrance of the Gulf of Aqaba from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.

The government declared that both islands were only under Egyptian protection since 1950 following the request of late King Abdulaziz Al Saud.