CAIRO, Dec 19 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court has set Jan.16 as a date for ruling on the government's appeal against a previous verdict voiding the Tiran and Sanafir islands deal.
The administrative court had annulled last June an agreement, which stipulated the transfer of two strategic Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, affirming that the two islands fall within Egypt's borders. The State Lawsuits Authority challenged the decision few hours later.
The agreement, signed during Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz’s first official visit to Cairo in April, 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.