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Egypt Parliament Gives Final Approval to Maritime Demarcation Deal with Riyadh | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An aerial view of the coast of the Red Sea and the two islands of Tiran and Sanafir is pictured through the window of an airplane near Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt November 1, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Cairo- Egypt’s parliament on Wednesday backed an agreement that was signed mid-last year to hand over the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.

The House of Representatives approved the agreement during a session chaired by Speaker Ali Abdelaal and after discussing a report prepared by the joint committee of the Committee on Defense and National Security and the Bureau of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Affairs on the subject matter.

“I announce the House’s final approval of the maritime demarcation agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed on April 8, 2016,” Abdelaal said before adjourning the session.

The vote came very swiftly. The House Committee on Defense and National Security unanimously backed the plan earlier on Wednesday and referred it to the House for a final vote. A majority approved it less than four hours later.

The Egyptian government, headed by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, last year announced the maritime demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia.

A government report advising parliament on the terms of the agreement said Egyptians would not need visas to visit the islands if they were transferred to Saudi Arabia.