Former presidential candidate and founder of Egyptian Popular Current Hamdeen Sabahy talks during an interview with Reuters in Cairo December 10, 2012 (Reuters)
Dozens of Egyptian public figures, including Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabahi and leftist lawyer Khaled Ali, issued a statement on Tuesday rejecting the recent Saudi-Egyptian deal which leaves the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir within Saudi regional waters.
"The two islands are considered an Egyptian property and the constitution, which was approved by Egyptians, prevents any authority from ceding any parts of Egyptian territory," the statement read.
The Egyptian government said last week that, according to the maritime borders between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the two islands belonged to the kingdom. The announcement came during a visit by Saudi King Salman to Cairo.
"The border demarcation agreement which Egypt signed with Saudi Arabia came simultaneously with King Salman's visit to Egypt amid talks over economic aid to Egypt, a fact which casts doubt over the time of signing such agreement," the opposition statement added.
Internally, Egypt's decision to hand over the two islands has caused controversy and debate.
The Egyptian government says that its decision comes after a six-year process of studies and eleven rounds of negotiations between officials and experts from Cairo and Riyadh.