Egypt court backs islands’ transfer to Saudi Arabia

An Egyptian court issues a new ruling in support of a government accord to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, a deal that has sparked protests, according to lawyers.

In the latest in a series of contradictory judicial rulings on the case, the urgent matters court in Cairo follow a verdict by Egypt’s highest administrative court that went against the islands’ transfer.

The deal to hand over the islands, signed during an April 2016 visit by Saudi King Salman during which Riyadh showered Egypt with aid, provoked accusations that Cairo had “sold” the strategic islands.

Cairo said the two islands — Tiran and Sanafir — were Saudi territory to start with, but had been leased to Egypt in the 1950s.

The accord has sparked street protests and a legal battle between the government, which insists along with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi that the islands are Saudi, and lawyers opposed to the measure.


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