Egypt Court Stops Transfer of Islands

IAS Prelims 2023

Egyptian apex court has upheld a ruling that stopped a plan to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

The High Administrative Court rejected an appeal by the government against a lower court’s decision to stop it handing over Tiran and Sanafir.

Court said that the government had failed to provide evidence that the islands were originally Saudi.

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In June, the court nullified the border accord, ruling that Egyptian sovereignty over the islands held and could not be amended in favour of another state.

The transfer deal, signed last year, sparked rare protests in Egypt.

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said the islands had always belonged to Saudi Arabia and that Riyadh had asked Egypt to station troops there in 1950 to protect them. But Mr Sisi was accused of violating the constitution and selling the islands in return for a multi-billion dollar aid package announced during a visit to Cairo by King Salman.

About Islands:

Sanafir and Tiran are islands that lie about 4km (2 nautical miles) apart in the Red Sea. Tiran sits at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, on a strategically important stretch of water called the Strait of Tiran, used by Israel to access the Red Sea.

The islands are uninhabited, apart from Egyptian military personnel and multi-national peacekeepers, since 1982 Egyptian troops have been stationed on the islands since 1950 at the request of Saudi Arabia. Israel captured the islands in 1956 and 1967, subsequently returning them to Egypt both times.