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Egypt-Saudi ties could be key to Trump’s Mideast 'ultimate deal'

Egypt's disputed transfer of the Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia may be one part of an overall peace deal involving Israel.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) stands with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a welcoming ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 23, 2017. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RTS13IR3

US President Donald Trump wrapped up his first foreign tour May 27. His most notable stop was Saudi Arabia, and his visit to the kingdom emphasized the similar visions of Washington and Riyadh. Many Muslim and Arab leaders were invited to Riyadh for a summit, which made it a significant visit that went beyond bilateral relations limited to two allies or countries sharing common objectives in the region.

A source from the Saudi Royal Court, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Al-Monitor that the visit and backstage talks were only part of a series of steps to remap the region and take radical measures on some issues. The source noted that Saudi Arabia is seeking to reposition itself in the region and redefine its ties, adding that the issue of Tiran and Sanafir — two Red Sea islands that Cairo ceded control of to Riyadh in April 2016 — is one issue involved in this strategy.

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