Egypt court voids ruling halting transfer of islands to Saudi Arabia

The Court of Urgent Matters struck down the January ruling of the High Administrative Court.

The transfer of the uninhabited Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to the Saudis has led to protests in Egypt.

The urgent matters court has issued a similar ruling before and the latest is also subject to appeal.

Any transfer must be also approved by parliament.

Tiran and Sanafir, located at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, were transferred to Saudi Arabia in a deal signed last April.

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said the islands had always belonged to Saudi Arabia and that the Saudis 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.

Saudi Arabia has backed Mr Sisi financially since he led the military’s overthrow of his Islamist predecessor, Mohammed Morsi, in 2013.

‘Usurping authority’

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The High Administrative Court ruled in January that the government had failed to provide evidence that the islands were originally Saudi.