Protest at the Lawyers Syndicate on Apr. 14, 2016 against the transfer of the Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia
CAIRO, Aug 15 (Aswat Masriya) - The State Lawsuits Authority is challenging an administrative court decision voiding the Egyptian-Saudi maritime border demarcation agreement before the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC).
The agreement , which was signed at a time when Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz was on his first official visit to Cairo in April, stipulates that two strategic islands, Tiran and Sanafir, fall within Saudi territorial waters.
The administrative court annulled the agreement last June and affirmed that the two islands fall within Egypt's borders.
The State Lawsuits authority, the body representing the government in legal cases, had already appealed the verdict before the Supreme Administrative Court which suspended looking into the appeal, pending a request filed to recuse the judge.
According to secretary general of the authority's media department Mohamed Abdellatif, the verdict annulling the agreement doesn't abide by the provisions of the constitution .
The Egyptian government maintains that both islands belong to Saudi Arabia.
The Egyptian-Saudi agreement has stirred controversy 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.
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.