Egypt Court Quashes Red Sea Islands’  Transfer to Saudi Arabia

Egypt Court Quashes Red Sea Islands’ Transfer to Saudi Arabia

An Egyptian judge has quashed a government decision to hand back two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.
Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi had announced the return of Tiran and Sanafir islands in April, during a visit by Saudi Arabia's King Salman.
More than 150 people were jailed in connection with protests over the deal, though many were later acquitted or had their sentences reduced on appeal. Tuesday's verdict is not final and could be overturned by a higher court, BBC reported.
Tiran and Sanafir are uninhabited islands, situated at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, a strategically important part of the Red Sea that is bordered by Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
President Sisi's decision in April to cede control of them sparked widespread unrest and criticism. King Salman had announced a multibillion dollar aid package to Egypt from Saudi Arabia on his visit, leading some to accuse Sisi of "selling" the islands.
He was forced to defend the move, saying Tiran and Sanafir had always belonged to Saudi Arabia.
Egyptian troops have been stationed on the islands since 1950 at the request of Saudi Arabia. Critics, though, object to the way Sisi has handed them back, saying it is unconstitutional.

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