Egypt’s government has approved a deal to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia and sent it to parliament for ratification, despite a legal dispute over the plan.
The deal, announced in April 2016, caused public uproar and protests by Egyptians who said the uninhabited islands of Tiran
belonged to their country.
The controversy has become a source of tension with Saudi Arabia, which has provided Egypt with billions of dollars of aid but recently halted fuel shipments amid deteriorating relations.
In June 2016, Egypt’s higher administrative court annulled the agreement, saying Egyptian sovereignty over the islands could not be given up. The Egyptian government lodged an appeal.
Egyptian state advisory body recommended the court uphold its original decision.
Tiran and Sanafir are situated in the narrow entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba
leading to Jordan and Israel.
Saudi and Egyptian officials say they belong to Saudi Arabia and were only under Egyptian control because Riyadh asked Cairo in 1950 to protect them.
Lawyers who opposed the handover said Egyptian sovereignty over the islands dated to a 1906 treaty, which was before Saudi Arabia was founded.Know More About Tiran & Sanafir
- Sanafir Island is an island in the Straits of Tiran east of Tiran Island.
- It is administered by Egypt.
- Area: 33 km²Max length: 8.7 km
- The Tiran island is located at the entrance of the Straits of Tiran, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.
- It has an area of about 80 square kilometres (31 square miles).