Egyptian court blocks island handover to Saudi Arabia

Egyptian court blocks island handover to Saudi Arabia
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By Christopher Cummins with Agencies
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Cairo court rules that the islands Tiran and Sanafir remain Egyptian

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A top Egyptian court has backed a ruling that blocks the handover of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

The Egyptian government signed a transfer agreement in April to pass Tiran and Sanafir, in the Gulf of Aqaba, over to Saudi Arabia.

Egyptian lawyer Khaled Ali celebrates after the Supreme Administrative Court said, Tiran and sanafir are Egyptian
Photo | Mohamed El Raai pic.twitter.com/xwjl7qezyd

— Mohamed El Raai (@mohammedelra3y) January 16, 2017

The deal sparked outrage across Egypt with President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi being accused of violating the constitution and “selling” the territories in return for a multi-billion dollar aid package.

Ahmed el Shazli the Judge of Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court delivered the verdict:” It is the court’s belief that Egypt’s sovereignty on Tiran and Sanafir is indisputable.”

The islands are home to Egyptian military personnel and international peacekeepers.

The Straits of Tiran is Israel’s only entry point from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Red Sea.

The Egyptian government claimed that the islands had never been under Egyptian jurisdiction.

#Breaking The High Administrative Court said it was unanimous in rejecting government appeal and that Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian islands pic.twitter.com/PDHQs87PX3

— Identity Magazine (@Identitymageg) January 16, 2017

Al Sisi said the land had always belonged to Saudi Arabia and Egyptian troops were only stationed there at the request of Riyadh.

State commissioners recommend annulling Tiran and Sanafir agreement https://t.co/qtUo7N1Clapic.twitter.com/ap0ya8iQEk

— Sam عمو (@sam__eg) December 5, 2016

The Saudis have bankrolled al-Sisi’s government since his predecessor, Mohammed Morsi, was removed from power in 2013.

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