Cabinet to provide parliament with all necessary documents on Red Sea islands: Egypt's PM

Mahmoud Aziz , Monday 3 Apr 2017

Egypt's PM Sherif Ismail (Photo:Al-Ahram Arabic News website)

Egypt's PM Sherif Ismail said on Sunday that the cabinet is ready to provide parliament with all relevant documents on the sovereignty status of the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to help the legislature reach a decision on the April 2016 Egyptian-Saudi border redemarcation deal.

The PM's comments came hours after a Cairo Court for Urgent Matters ruled that a previous annullment of the deal by the High Administrative Court (HAC) was not valid.

In press statements published in Al-Ahram newspaper on Monday, Ismail said the government will present parliament with a detailed file on the various developments in sovereignty discussions [with Saudi Arabia] since 1990.

In January 2017, the HAC affirmed Egyptian sovereignty over the islands, thereby declaring the Egypt-Saudi deal null and void.

However, on Sunday, the Court for Urgent Matters ruled that the HAC had no jurisdiction in such matters.

The controversial agreement, which places the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir under Saudi sovereignty, sparked widespread public outcry and legal challenges since its inception.

On 1 January, the cabinet referred the deal to parliament for voting, but no discussions or votes have yet taken place.

Lawyer Ashraf Farahat, who filed the lawsuit that was the subject of Sunday's ruling, explained to Al-Ahram Arabic website that he filed the lawsuit because, according to Article 11 of Egypt’s State Council law, the High Administrative Court should not rule on such cases, which should be left to the parliament to vote on.

In March, Egypt's Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said parliament will discuss and vote on the deal, despite the annulment of the deal by the High Administrative Court in January.

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."

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