Egypt cabinet refers Egyptian-Saudi demarcation deal to parliament

Ahram Online , Hadeer El-Mahdawy , Thursday 29 Dec 2016

Tiran and Sanafir
The Red Sea islands of Tiran, in the foreground, and Sanafir. (AFP)

Egypt’s cabinet referred on Thursday the Egyptian-Saudi Red Sea border demarcation agreement to parliament after approving the deal that places the Egyptian-controlled Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir under Saudi sovereignty.

The cabinet asserted in a statement that its approval of the deal and its referral to parliament is constitutional, though lawyers challenging the agreement in court say the move is unconstitutional, as the court has not yet given a final verdict on the issue.

The cabinet has received several inquiries from parliament asking why the agreement has not been sent to parliament for approval, according to Ahram Arabic website.

However, lawyer Khaled Ali, who is challenging the deal in court, told Ahram Online that the cabinet’s decision is neither legal nor constitutional.

“The administrative court has ordered [that the cabinet must heed the court ruling] voiding the agreement,” Ali said, adding that the cabinet should not have sent the deal to parliament for discussion.

"[The cabinet’s decision] is creating conflict between the judicial and legislative authorities, the cabinet should follow the court order. If not, we will take legal action," Ali said.

In June, an administrative court voided the agreement after a number of citizens and lawyers filed a lawsuit challenging the deal.

The State Lawsuits Authority, the legal body representing the government in court, has appealed the ruling on behalf of the cabinet, the presidency and parliament.

On 5 December, the Commissioner's Authority of the High Administrative Court recommended that the court reject the government appeal.

The High Administrative Court is set to issue a final verdict on the deal on 16 January.  

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