Egypt appeals court decision to block Saudi island deal
Cairo // Egypt’s government on Wednesday released details of its appeal against a court decision to block the controversial handover of two uninhabited Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.The deal over the islands of Tiran and Sanafir sparked widespread anger when it was signed in April.
The country’s state council ruled on Tuesday that the islands, strategically situated at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, must remain under Egyptian sovereignty.
“The government will present all the documents it has to demonstrate the integrity and strength of the case it presented to the Supreme Administrative Court which has the right to rule on the case,” the prime minister’s office said.
“It will also present a dossier containing documents and maps that will assist in resolving the case.”
The government argues that the uninhabited islands – which lie along narrow shipping lanes leading north to the port cities of Eilat in Israel and Aqaba in Jordan – have always been Saudi territory but were leased to Cairo in 1950 following a request by Riyadh.
It says the deal to transfer them was based on a decree by ousted president Hosni Mubarak. Cairo says Mr Mubarak had even informed the United Nations about the matter in 1990.
The deal, signed during a visit to Cairo by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in April, prompted an outcry from many Egyptians, and sparked protests against president Abdel Fattah El Sisi.
* Agence France-Presse and Associated Press
Updated: June 22, 2016 04:00 AM