Five arrested while protesting against recent Egypt-Saudi maritime border agreement

Sunday 10-04-2016 10:00 PM

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Apr. 2016. Presidency handout.

CAIRO, Apr 10 (Aswat Masriya)- Five people were arrested on Sunday, a judicial source said, while protesting against a maritime border demarcation agreement which was signed between Egypt and Saudi Arabia Friday and which has stirred debate for stipulating that two Red Sea islands fall within Saudi territorial waters.

The judicial source told Aswat Masriya that security forces seized a number of banners bearing slogans that denounce the agreement. 


The Egyptian cabinet said in a statement on Saturday that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have signed a maritime border agreement stipulating that the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir fall within Saudi Arabia's territorial waters. 

The agreement, which is yet to be ratified in the parliament, has come under fire and was scrutinised by social media users who argue the two islands belong to Egypt and should not be given up to Saudi Arabia.

The Tiran Island is located in the Gulf of al-Aqaba, about 5 or 6 km from the Sinai Peninsula, and it has a total area of about 80 square km. Sanafir Island lies to the east of Tiran with a total area of 33 square km.

Located at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, the two islands are strategically significant as they both control maritime activity in the gulf. 

Social media users as well as public figures, such as satirist Bassem Youssef, said that Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has "sold Egypt" to the Saudi king in return for Saudi aid.

Egyptian human rights lawyer Khaled Ali has filed a lawsuit with the administrative judiciary on Sunday challenging the agreement.

Egypt has enjoyed the support of Saudi Arabia, as well as of Gulf neighbours Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, since the military ouster of then-President Mohammed Mursi in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule.

In the past two days, Sisi and the Saudi King signed agreements worth $25 billion with the aim of increasing cooperation between the two countries.

Last December, Saudi Arabia said it will raise its investments in Egypt to above 30 billion Saudi riyals ($8 billion) and pledged to contribute to providing Egypt with petroleum needs for the next five years. Earlier, in March 2015, Saudi Arabia had pledged $4 billion in investments in and assistance for Egypt.

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