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Egyptian court reaffirms cancellation of govt's island deal with Saudi Arabia

Egyptian court reaffirms cancellation of govt's island deal with Saudi Arabia

Egypt

An Egyptian High Court on Monday confirmed the cancellation of the controversial handing over of two Red Sea islands by the government to Saudi Arabia.

The court ruled that the uninhabited islands of Tiran and Sanafir were Egyptian territories, contrary to the assertion of the government when it announced their surrender to Saudi Arabia in April 2016 during a visit to Cairo by King Salman.

The government in June 2016 appealed an earlier court ruling annulling the transfer. β€œThe government used and will present all documents in its possession to show the validity and strength of its position before the Supreme Administrative Court which will decide in this case,” the government announced in a press release signed by Prime Minister Ismail Sharif days after the initial annulment.

The government decision to cede the islands sparked off protests in the North African country, which was followed by a police clampdown and subsequently a court jailing some of the protesters on charges of breaking a 2013 law that bans protests and disrupting of traffic.

Some Egyptians opposed to the deal have accused President Al-Sisi of selling the uninhabited islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi in return for investments.

The current decision will be an affirmation of the victory by opponents of the move, who disagreed with the government that the islands always belonged to Saudi and that Egypt was only playing the role of a caretaker since the 1950s.

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