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Egypt approves Red Sea island transfer to Saudi Arabia

Lawmakers protested and chanted "Egyptian, Egyptian" in reference to the islands.

Egypt’s parliament today backed plans to hand over two uninhabited Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia under an agreement that has attracted widespread public criticism.

House of Representatives Speaker, Ali Abdelaal, said the required majority of lawmakers had voted for the agreement, which the government signed last year, despite a court striking it down in March.

“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 treaty must now be ratified by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, which is a formality.

Read: Muslim Brotherhood slams Egypt’s surrender of Red Sea islands

The vote came very swiftly. The House Committee on Defence and National Security unanimously backed the plan earlier today and referred it to the House for a final vote.

A majority approved it less than four hours later. Those opposed to the measure stood up in protest and chanted “Egyptian, Egyptian” in reference to the islands.

Today is a terrible day for the Egyptian people, one in which the nation has lost part of its land

said lawmaker Haitham Al-Hariri.

Several legislators opposed to the deal threatened to hold an open-ended sit-in. Some said they were considering resigning in protest.

Egypt’s highest administrative court blocked the deal but parliament insisted the matter was constitutionally within its domain.

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