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Media Reports: Egypt 'gives Chios island to Greece' in new deal

Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the opening ceremony of the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2016

According to media reports, the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi 'gave' the island of Chios to Greece in a maritime demarcation agreement signed last year. The reports attribute the comments to a former official in Egypt's department of religious endowments (Waqf) .

Allegedly, the former Director Atif Othman said that the Ottoman Sultan, Muhammad Ali Pasha, had endowed the 50 square kilometres island to charity.

Egypt has denied these reports. The Egyptian Cabinet's Information and Decision Support Centre [IDSC] released a statement on Tuesday, saying the allegations were "totally false".

It added that Egypt does, however, own endowments on the Greek island of Thasos which were a gift from to the Ottoman Sultan to 19th-century ruler Mohammad Ali Pasha and that it has not ceded the property.

Despite the mix-up in the islands' names and the inaccuracy of the reports, the rumours have stirred controversy in Egypt, where formal complaints about "giving it away" have already been filed against the government. An MP has already asked the government for a clarification on the media reports and the Arabic-language hashtag #ChiosIsEgyptianYouTheives has gained traction on Twitter.

These false rumours have however reminded Egyptians of a similar deal earlier this year. In April, Egypt and Saudi Arabia agreed that possession of the two strategic Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir should pass to the kingdom.

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AfricaEgyptEurope & RussiaGreeceNews
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