Egypt gets green light to handover islands to KSA
Egypt’s Court of Urgent Matters has nullified a ruling by the High Administrative Court that blocked the handover of the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.
The High Administrative Court ruled in January that the Egyptian government should provide evidence that the two islands belong to Saudi Arabia but its nullification means that Cairo can go ahead with the controversial handing over of the islands. The government argues that it was only protecting the said territories for Riyadh following a formal request from the latter in 1950.
The Court of Urgent Matters ruling can be appealed.
Lawyers Malek Adly and Khaked Ali have repeatedly argued that Egypt’s sovereignty over the islands dated back to a 1906 treaty, i.e. before the founding of Saudi Arabia. Ali termed the nullification ruling as a “pathetic attempt to legitimize a deal to waiver Egyptian land” while lamenting that it is “unconstitutional and illegal.”
The lifting of the blockade on the transfer of the two islands took place a few days after President Sisi met with King Salman in Jordan; on the sidelines of the Arab League Summit.
Ties between the two countries have been strained but there are signs of reconciliation after reports said the Egyptian president has been invited to visit Riyadh.
As Sunday’s court decision has been already met with angry responses, there are fears that protesters could fill the streets again because the issue of the two islands is being considered by some Egyptians as a matter of national sovereignty and integrity. Yet, any final deal must be approved by parliament.
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