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No Written Saudi Assurance Over Tiran islands, Israeli Official Hints

The Times of Israel reports:  Jerusalem did not receive written assurances from Saudi Arabia regarding Israel’s right of free passage through the Gulf of Aqaba and the Strait of Tiran in the wake of a Saudi-Egyptian deal to swap ownership of two islands, a senior Israeli official indicated Monday.

The senior official, who is well versed in the matter but asked not to be identified by name, contradicted a statement made earlier this month by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who had told military correspondents in a briefing about the existence of such a document.

Two weeks ago, Cairo agreed to hand control over the two islands — Tiran and Sanafir — to Riyadh in exchange for the creation of a $16-billion investment fund.

Israel was updated and did not object to the deal, but asked by The Times of Israel to confirm Israel received a commitment to Israel in writing from Riyadh about Israel’s right of passage the for Israel strategically important Strait of Tiran, the senior official replied: “That’s not precise.”

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