Protest at the Lawyers Syndicate on Apr. 14, 2016 against the transfer of the Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia
CAIRO, Jun 23 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt’s Supreme Administrative court will look into the government’s appeal against the annulment of the Egyptian-Saudi maritime border demarcation agreement signed in April, on Sunday.
The agreement, which was signed at a time when Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz was on his first official visit to Cairo, stipulates that the two strategic islands, Tiran and Sanafir, fall within Saudi territorial waters.
On Tuesday, the administrative court voided the agreement and ruled for both islands to remain under Egypt’s sovereignty, but the State Lawsuit Authority appealed against the decision.
Minister of Legal Affairs and Parliament Magdy al-Agati told a press conference on Wednesday that the state-owned documents regarding the agreement were not presented to the judge presiding over the case.
He added that the agreement, which is yet to be ratified by the parliament, will not be presented to the House of Representatives until the court issues a decision regarding the appeal.
The agreement has come under fire and heavily scrutinised, with critics accusing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of "selling Egypt" to Saudi Arabia in return for aid.
Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets in rare protests on April 15 and April 25, amid a police campaign of mass arrests of activists opposed to the islands’ transfer.
Located at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, the two islands are strategically significant as they both control maritime activity in the Gulf.
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.