Five released after detained for protesting Egypt-Saudi demarcation deal

Monday 11-04-2016 03:01 PM

Security forces arrest protesters in Ramsis square in Cairo. REUTERS (Archive)

CAIRO, Apr 11 (Aswat Masriya) - Egyptian prosecutors released on Monday five people, who were arrested Sunday for protesting against a maritime border demarcation agreement which stirred debate after it was signed between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Security forces arrested the five people, who included three young women, while protesting in Talaat Harb Square in downtown Cairo.

The demarcation agreement, which was signed on Friday and which is yet to be ratified in the parliament, sparked controversy in Egypt for stipulating that two Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, fall within Saudi territorial waters.

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.

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

Critics among 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.

But the Egyptian cabinet said in a statement on Saturday that Saudi Arabia had requested Egypt to protect both islands in 1950 and they had been under Egypt's control since then.

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.




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