Mon Apr 11, 2016 04:49AM
A handout picture released on April 10, 2016 shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C-R) and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (C-L) talking during a signing ceremony for bilateral agreements in the capital Cairo. (Photo by AFP)
A handout picture released on April 10, 2016 shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C-R) and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (C-L) talking during a signing ceremony for bilateral agreements in the capital Cairo. (Photo by AFP)
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Press TV has asked Hazem Salem, a political activist from Cairo, and Jihad Mouracadeh, a political analyst from Beirut, to comment on the recent Saudi deal with Cairo over two Egyptian islands.

Salem says the two Egyptian islands of Tiran and Sanafir were demilitarized under the Camp David Accords decades ago, but they are now under the Saudi control. He adds that the Egyptian islands have been usurped as a result of the “Saudi expansionist strategy” in the Middle East and North Africa and “under the Saudi engagement in fighting everywhere.”

He says that the Riyadh regime is buying the islands to utilize them for their “military strategic purposes.”

The activist also says, “The Saudi regime has been very opportunist about this issue especially in this particular moment, making use of the lack of liquidity, lack of finance in the Egyptian government and the need of the Egyptian government to have some investment.”

He goes on to say that the deal means there are “some peace arrangements between Saudi Arabia and Israel,” asking the question: Can the Saudi government, which is supposed to be working for the liberation of Palestine, explain its relations with the Tel Aviv regime to the Saudi people?

Pointing to the reactions of the Egyptian people to the deal between Cairo and Riyadh, Salem notes the Egyptians underlined that the islands are part of the Egyptian territory and sovereignty; therefore, young people poured to the streets of Cairo to show their anger about the deal, but some of the protesters have been arrested.

Mouracadeh, for his part, believes “both countries (Saudi Arabia and Egypt) benefit from the deal” because the two islands have been demilitarized since 1978 and multinational forces have been deployed there based on the Camp David Accords; thus, the islands are “irrelevant” to Cairo and the deal does not violate the sovereignty of Egypt.