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Egypt top court waives legal challenges to Red Sea islands transfer to Saudi

Egypt top court waives legal challenges to Red Sea islands transfer to Saudi

Egypt

Egypt’s top court on Saturday dismissed all outstanding legal challenges to a deal transferring two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, a day before a visit by its crown prince.

The plan to cede the islands to Riyadh, an ally which has given billions of dollars in aid to Egypt, was announced in 2016 and became mired in political protest and legal action.

The Supreme Court ruled that no other court had jurisdiction over the matter, blocking two opposing verdicts – one by the Supreme Administrative Court, which was against ceding control of the islands of Tiran and Sanafir, the other by the Court of Urgent Matters, which looked to void that decision.

Opponents say Egypt’s sovereignty over the islands dates back to 1906, before Saudi Arabia was founded.

Saudi and Egyptian officials say the islands belong to the kingdom and were only under Egyptian control because Riyadh had asked Cairo in 1950 to protect them.

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