Egypt's president ratifies disputed Saudi islands pact

Egypt's president on Saturday ratified a disputed 2016 agreement under which his country would transfer control of two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, following through on his assertion earlier this week that the matter was closed.

News of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's ratification of the maritime border demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia came in a Cabinet statement, which appeared to be carefully timed to head off, or at least delay, any street protests over the surrender of the islands, which the Egyptian government insists have always been Saudi.

It was issued shortly before sunset, when most were at or heading home to eat iftar — the meal with which...