'Egypt-Saudi maritime border deal requires change to peace treaty with Israel'

Al-Ahram reports that Israel was briefed during talks on Egypt ceding two strategic Red Sea islands to the Saudis.

By YASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA
April 11, 2016 10:27
1 minute read.
Suez Canal

A view of Israel, including the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and Suez canal. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Egypt and Israel have recently held talks about Egypt's demarcation of its maritime border in the Gulf of Aqaba with Saudi Arabia that was concluded over the weekend during Saudi King Salman's historic visit to Cairo, Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported.

According to the report, the Egyptian government informed Israel of the developments regarding the redrawing of the maritime border, which included Egypt's ceding of sovereignty over the Red Sea islands of Sanafir and Tiran to the Saudis, and the influence it may have on Egypt and Israel's 1979 peace treaty.

Further, the report states, Egypt updated Israel on new understandings reached between the Saudi defense minister and Egyptian prime minister who signed an agreement which, if approved by Egypt's parliament, will obligate Riyadh to honor all of Egypt's commitments in its peace treaty with Israel, including the presence of the international peacekeeping force on the islands of Sanafir and Tiran, and freedom of maritime movement in the Gulf of Aqaba.

Al-Ahram's political analyst reported that if Israel agrees to the new border agreement between Egypt and the Saudis, the government will have to get approval from the Knesset to change the peace treaty.

According to the report, Israel did not express any opposition to the islands coming under Saudi sovereignty, and requested that the change be made in accordance with the law.

The return of the two islands to the Saudis caused an ado on Egyptian social media, which included hashtags such as "#Egypt_is_not_for_sale."



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