Egypt's parliament to discuss Tiran and Sanafir deal despite court ruling voiding agreement

Ahram Online , Tuesday 14 Mar 2017

Ali Abdel Aal
An archival for Egypt's parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal (Photo: Al Ahram)

Egyptian parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal confirmed on Tuesday that the House will discuss a controversial deal involving the transfer of two Red Sea islands under Egyptian control to Saudi Arabia, despite the agreement being annulled by a final court ruling earlier this year, state news agency MENA reported.

Abdel-Aal said that parliament will discuss the deal "in accordance with its constitutional powers… once some procedures and paperwork are completed in the next few days."

The government approved the deal to hand over the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to the Gulf kingdom in December and has sent it to parliament for ratification.

However, Egypt’s High Administrative Court rejected the deal in a final ruling in January, affirming that the islands belonged to Egypt alone and that the government has not provided sufficient evidence proving otherwise.

The agreement, which was announced during a visit to Egypt by the Saudi king last April, prompted protests by Egyptians who accused the government of selling Egyptian land.

The government, however, insists the islands have always belonged to Saudi Arabia, and were only placed under Egypt's control because Riyadh had asked Cairo to protect them in the 1950s.

Khaled Ali, a prominent Egyptian rights lawyers who challenged the deal in court, said that Egypt's ownership of the islands dates back to a treaty signed with the Ottoman Empire in 1906, before the founding of Saudi Arabia.

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