Appeals court for Urgent Matters confirms Saudi’s sovereignty over disputed Red Sea islands

The appeals court of the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters rejected on Sunday an appeal to overturn the ruling that nullifies the signing of the maritime boundary agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The appeal was filed by lawyer Nahla Ahmed Kandil. 

The deal, signed in April 2016 by Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, stipulated that the sovereignty of Tiran and Sanafir islands would be transferred to Saudi Arabia.

In April, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters nullified the Supreme Administrative Court’s final ruling issued in January, declaring the transfer of the Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia as void.

Egyptian rights lawyer, Khaled Ali, had filed a lawsuit demanding the suspension of the verdict from the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters, which had ruled to revoke the High Administrative Court’s final decision to uphold Egypt’s sovereignty over the two islands.

Egypt’s Administrative Court had set June 6 as the date to rule on the controversial legal jurisdiction dispute regarding the Egyptian-Saudi maritime border demarcation.

“The Administrative Court said the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters has no jurisdiction whatsoever over the provisions of this case; it’s void,” Ali said after the first hearing.

He said in a statement to Al-Masry Al-Youm: “A state that does not respect its judicial verdicts is a state that calls for chaos.”

In 1949, Saudi Arabia allowed Egypt to occupy the two islands “for defensive purposes” following the establishment of the Israeli state. Egypt proceeded to block passage through the Strait of Tiran, Israel’s only maritime passage from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Red Sea.

Tiran Island was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 and remained under Israeli control until 1982, when it went back under Egyptian jurisdiction.

Egypt maintains that it never had full sovereignty over the two islands and was simply controlling them administratively.



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