Egyptian Parliament- File photo
CAIRO – 9 May: The Egypt Support Coalition denounced recent attempts by a number of parliamentarians to mobilize against the Egyptian-Saudi maritime demarcation deal in which Egypt announced Saudi sovereignty over the disputed Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir.
The coalition, which forms the largest ruling bloc in parliament, released a statement on Friday ahead of next week’s parliamentary committee meetings which will discuss the deal further.
“The state of polarization and treason from some parliament members against the Tiran and Sanafir deal and other parliament members is not accepted in any way,” the coalition statement declared. “The parliament will discuss the maritime demarcation deal in the same way as any other case according to internal regulations,” it added.
The statement acknowledged that the political situation surrounding the islands may not be clearly obvious to the public due to its complex legal status, and offered its assurance that parliament’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee will invite a number of experts and specialists during the sessions to ensure an appropriate final decision.
Starting from Sunday 11 June the parliamentary committee will hold a three day discussion debating the deal “away from the influence of emotions and false information.”
The statement also warned against any attempts to obstruct proceedings inside parliament during the discussion, stating that the committee has gathered all information needed to ensure a final decision can be made.
A team of lawyers defending Egyptian sovereignty of the islands have previously presented documents to parliament showing Egypt’s control over the territory dating back to 1906, at the time of the Ottoman Empire.
However in April 2015, the Egyptian Cabinet announced that the islands of Tiran and Sanafir are Saudi Territories.
Tiran and Sanafir are located in the narrow entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. Egyptian officials say they belong to Saudi Arabia and have been under former Egyptian control only because Riyadh requested Cairo protect them in 1950.