Khuriya Muriya Islands

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The Khuriya Muriya Islands (or Kuria Muria) (Arabic: جزر خوريا موريا‎; transliterated: Juzur Khurīyā Murīyā or Khūryān Mūryān) are a group of five islands in the Arabian Sea, 40 km (25 mi) off the southeastern coast of the Sultanate of Oman. The islands form part of the province of Shalim and the Hallaniyat Islands in the governorate of Dhofar.



In antiquity the islands were called the Zenobii or Zenobiou Islands (Greek: Ζηνοβίου νησία; Latin: Zenobii Insulae) or Doliche (Greek: Δολίχη). The islands were mentioned by several early writers including Ptolemy (vi. 7. § 47) who numbered them as seven small islands lying in Khuriya Muriya Bay (Greek: Σαχαλίτης κόλπος; Latin: Sinus Sachalites), towards the entrance of the "Persian Gulf" (most likely the modern Gulf of Aden).[1]

In 1854 the hami (sultan) of Muscat (later Muscat and Oman, now Oman), ceded the islands to Britain and in 1868 they were attached to the Aden Settlement (in modern Yemen). As a British possession until 1967, they were administered by the British Governor of Aden until 1953, then by the British High Commissioner until 1963, and finally by the British Chief Political Resident of the Persian Gulf (based in Bahrain). On 30 November 1967, Lord Caradon, the British Ambassador to the United Nations, announced that in accordance with the wishes of the local inhabitants, the islands would be returned to Muscat and Oman, despite criticism from President Qahtan Muhammad al-Shaabi that the islands should be transferred to the People's Republic of South Yemen.[2]

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