Egyptian court approves hand-over of Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia

Published April 3rd, 2017 - 05:00 GMT
Saudi Arabian King Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi during a meeting in Cairo, April 8, 2016. (AFP)
Saudi Arabian King Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi during a meeting in Cairo, April 8, 2016. (AFP)

An Egyptian court has voided a previous decision to block the transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, a judicial source told The New Arab.

The Court of Urgent Matters on Sunday nullified a Supreme Court ruling that blocked the handover of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia.

Last week, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Saudi King Salman on the sidelines of the Arab League summit in Jordan, breaking the ice after months of tensions between the longtime allies.

A court rejected in January a controversial government deal to transfer the uninhabited islands to Saudi Arabia, triggering street protests by Egyptians who said the territory is Egyptian.

The controversy became a source of tension with Saudi Arabia, which has provided billions of dollars of aid to Egypt.

But it seems Egypt and Saudi Arabia have reconciled their differences.

King Salman invited Sisi to visit Saudi Arabia during their recent meeting, which came days after Egypt announced Saudi energy giant Aramco resumed delivering shipments of petroleum products after abruptly suspending them last October.

The move was announced after Egypt voted in favour of a Russian-drafted UN Security Council resolution on Syria that Saudi Arabia strongly opposed.

Saudi Arabia is a leading supporter of the Syrian opposition, while Egypt has pushed for a political solution that might keep Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad in power.

Sunday's court decision has been met with angry responses.

Khaled Ali, the head lawyer contesting the transfer of two islands, said in a statement that the ruling was "unconstitutional and illegal".

"This is a pathetic attempt to legitimise a deal to waiver Egyptian land," Ali said on Facebook.

Similarly, Egyptian lawmaker Haitham al-Hariri said that the Court of Urgent Matters did not have the right to nullify the previous ruling.

Copyright @ 2022 The New Arab.

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