Middle East

Egypt's oldest secular university honors Saudi monarch

  • In this picture taken Saturday, April 9, 2016, provided by the office of the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center right, and Saudi Arabia's King Salman, center left, witness the signing of agreements and memorandums of understanding, in Cairo, Egypt. Egypt welcomed Saudi Arabia's monarch on a landmark visit to the Arab world's most populous country on Thursday, with Cairo seeking to boost ties and garner deals to prop up the nation's shaky economy despite some persistent divisions with the Sunni powerhouse. (Egyptian Presidency via AP)

    In this picture taken Saturday, April 9, 2016, provided by the office of the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center right, and Saudi Arabia's King Salman, center left, witness the signing of agreements and memorandums of understanding, in Cairo, Egypt. Egypt welcomed Saudi Arabia's monarch on a landmark visit to the Arab world's most populous country on Thursday, with Cairo seeking to boost ties and garner deals to prop up the nation's shaky economy despite some persistent divisions with the Sunni powerhouse. (Egyptian Presidency via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this picture provided by the office of the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's King Salman before he departs Egypt, Monday, April 11, 2016. Egypt's oldest secular university on Monday granted King Salman of Saudi Arabia an honorary doctorate for his "unique services" to Arabs and Muslims, the final function in a five-day visit clouded by opposition to Cairo's intention to hand over control of two Red Sea islands to Riyadh.  (Sherif Abdel Minoem, Egyptian Presidency via AP)

    In this picture provided by the office of the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's King Salman before he departs Egypt, Monday, April 11, 2016. Egypt's oldest secular university on Monday granted King Salman of Saudi Arabia an honorary doctorate for his "unique services" to Arabs and Muslims, the final function in a five-day visit clouded by opposition to Cairo's intention to hand over control of two Red Sea islands to Riyadh. (Sherif Abdel Minoem, Egyptian Presidency via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this picture provided by the office of the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's King Salman before he departs Egypt, Monday, April 11, 2016. Egypt's oldest secular university on Monday granted King Salman of Saudi Arabia an honorary doctorate for his "unique services" to Arabs and Muslims, the final function in a five-day visit clouded by opposition to Cairo's intention to hand over control of two Red Sea islands to Riyadh.  (Sherif Abdel Minoem, Egyptian Presidency via AP)

    In this picture provided by the office of the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's King Salman before he departs Egypt, Monday, April 11, 2016. Egypt's oldest secular university on Monday granted King Salman of Saudi Arabia an honorary doctorate for his "unique services" to Arabs and Muslims, the final function in a five-day visit clouded by opposition to Cairo's intention to hand over control of two Red Sea islands to Riyadh. (Sherif Abdel Minoem, Egyptian Presidency via AP)  (The Associated Press)

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.