Urgent affairs court upholds decision to proceed with Egyptian-Saudi accord

Saturday 31-12-2016 01:38 PM

Activists protest Sisi's transfer of the Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in front of the Journalists' Syndicate on April 15th, 2016. (ASWAT MASRIYA/ Mohamed al-Raai)

CAIRO, Dec 31 (Aswat Masriya) - The Cairo Court of Urgent Matters upheld on Saturday a previous ruling in favour of proceeding with the maritime border demarcation agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia and rejected opposition lawyers' appeal against the decision.

The agreement, which stipulates that the two strategic Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir fall within Saudi territorial waters, was annulled in June by the administrative court which affirmed that both islands fall within Egypt's borders.

One of the state's lawyers took the case to the urgent matters court which ruled in favour of the agreement in September, opposing the administrative court's ruling.

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.

The fate of the two islands is set to be determined by the Supreme Administrative Court, which will issue the final ruling in the case on Jan 16.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the agreement, the cabinet approved it on Thursday and referred it to parliament for ratification, saying in a statement that the move complies with "constitutional procedures".

Lawyers, opposing the agreement including Khaled Ali and Ali Ayoub, challenged on Saturday the referral of the agreement to the parliament.

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