Egypt's oldest secular university has granted King Salman of Saudi Arabia an honorary doctorate for his "unique services" to Arabs and Muslims.

Cairo University bestowed the honor on the Saudi ruler Monday, the fifth day of a visit clouded by opposition to Cairo's intention to hand over control of two strategic Red Sea islands to Riyadh.

The kingdom has pledged billions of dollars in aid and investment to Egypt. But activists and some experts have condemned plans to transfer sovereignty over Tiran and Sanafir at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, with some calling it a sell-off.

Egypt's government says the islands belong to Saudi Arabia, and that Riyadh asked Egypt to take charge of their security in 1950 because it feared an attack by Israel.