Egypt approves deal to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia
Egypt’s government has approved a deal to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia and has sent it to parliament for ratification on Thursday, according to state television.
The agreement, announced in April, caused a public uproar and rare protests by Egyptians who said the islands were Egyptian.
Earlier this month, an Egyptian state advisory body recommended that a Cairo court uphold a ruling that annulled an agreement giving Saudi Arabia control of two islands.
The agreement, announced in April, caused a public uproar and rare protests by Egyptians who said the uninhabited islands of Tiran and Sanafir were Egyptian.
In June, the Higher Administrative Court annulled the agreement, saying Egyptian sovereignty over the islands could not be given up. The Egyptian government lodged an appeal.
The government says the islands had always belonged to Saudi Arabia and that Egypt had merely administered them while on lease since the 1950s.
Critics, however, accuse military-backed President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of “selling” the islands in return for Saudi investments, and that the accord is unconstitutional as state land cannot be compromised under the Egyptian constitution.