Egypt's parliament should decide on Red Sea islands before judiciary: MP

Ahram Online , Sunday 8 Jan 2017

A higher Egyptian court is set to rule on the border demarcation agreement that puts Tiran and Sanafir under Saudi sovereignty this month

Parliament member Hamdy Bekhit (Photo:Ahram)

An ongoing legal dispute over whether two Red Sea islands belong to Egypt or to Saudi Arabia should not have been taken to court before being reviewed by parliament and put to national referendum, said MP Hamdy Bekheit in a televised interview on Saturday.

Egypt’s government signed a border demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia last April that puts the two islands, Tiran and Sanafir, under Saudi sovereignty.

Bekheit, a member of parliament’s committee for national defence and security, argued in an interview on Al-Hayat channel that there is no legal document that proves that the islands of Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian.

The case was taken to court by several Egyptian plaintiffs, including rights lawyer Khaled Ali.

In June, an administrative court ruled that the 8 April border demarcation agreement was void and that the islands should remain under Egyptian sovereignty.

However, Egypt's State Lawsuits Authority – the body representing the government in legal cases – later filed and won a lawsuit in front of a court for urgent matters to stop the administrative court’s verdict from being implemented.

Last month, Egypt’s cabinet approved the agreement and referred it to parliament for voting.

Egypt's High Administrative Court has set 16 January to rule on the cabinet’s appeal against the June ruling.


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