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The New Arab

Egypt appeals verdict annulling controversial islands deal

Tiran and Sanafir have been under Egyptian control for over six decades [AFP]

Date of publication: 29 November, 2016

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The Egyptian government will attempt to overturn an earlier court ruling on the controversial transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia for the second time this month.
Egypt's government has appealed a court ruling that annulled the controversial transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

This latest case, brought forth by the Egypt’s State Lawsuits Authority, is appealing the annulment for a second time after an initial bid was rejected earlier this month, a judicial source cited by Anadolu reported.

The transfer of the islands must also receive approval by Egypt's legislature.

The controversial deal was announced in April, when the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that the Tiran and Sanafir islands would be ceded to Saudi Arabia. Both islands had been under Egyptian control for over half a century.

The announcement sparked outrage in Egypt, where many accused Sisi of undermining Egyptian sovereignty. Egypt was seen as selling its territorial integrity in return for billions of dollars in aid and investment from its oil-rich neighbour.

Despite the criticism, Egypt defended its decision, saying that it only seized the islands in 1950 to prevent Israel from doing so.

The deal was annulled in June, when lawyers and activists took the case to court on behalf of the popular opposition to it. The court ruled that the statuses of the islands cannot be changed "in any form or procedure for the benefit of any other country".

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