Today: Monday, 4 March 2024 year

US prepares historic agreement between Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia

US prepares historic agreement between Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia

The administration of US President Joe Biden, in particular his assistant for the Middle East Brett McGurk, is preparing a secret historic agreement between Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

This is told about an agreement on two islands in the Red Sea – Tirana and Sanafira. Despite the fact that they are uninhabited, and their area is only 77 and 33 square kilometers, respectively, these islands are of great strategic importance, since they actually control the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba, in which the Israeli port city of Eilat is located.

Since the founding of Israel in 1948, Tiran and Sanafir, which until then belonged to Saudi Arabia, changed hands several times. So, in 1949, Egyptian forces occupied both islands at the request of Riyadh, which at that time did not have its own navy. Then, in 1956 and 1967, Israel seized these territories, trying to ensure the security of Eilat, but both times they returned them to Egypt as a result of peace agreements between the countries.

In 1988, Saudi Arabia, having managed to acquire its own fleet, filed an official petition for the return of Tiran and Sanafir to it. In 2016, Egyptian President Abdul-Fattah El-Sisi wanted to transfer the islands to the Saudi side. As a result, despite the resistance of the Egyptian opposition, in 2018 this agreement was approved by the Supreme Court of Egypt. At the same time, Israel expressed its readiness to accept the transfer of the islands if international forces are deployed there to ensure the safety of the passage of Israeli ships into the bay, but in the end the document was never ratified.

Now the Biden team is trying to bring Israel and Saudi Arabia to an agreement on the islands, which is a stumbling block on the way to the conclusion of diplomatic relations between the countries. It is known that Riyadh is ready to abandon the deployment of its military on Tirana and Sanafir and ensure free navigation in the area for all countries, but opposes the presence of international observers on the islands.

In turn, Israel said that it would not insist on the deployment of international forces on the disputed islands if alternative measures were taken to guarantee the safety of Eilat and Israel ships. In addition, the Israel authorities hope that the Saudi side will make a number of concessions on other issues: in particular, it will allow Israeli aircraft to fly over its territory and allow direct flights from Israel to be launched so that Muslims living there can make pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.

It is specified that Biden expects that this agreement will be concluded before his trip to the Middle East, scheduled in June. If the document is indeed signed, this event will be a great success for the White House and the largest deal in the region over the past two years.