World Bulletin / News Desk
An Egyptian administrative court nullified Tuesday a maritime border agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, under which Cairo ceded two Red Sea islands to Riyadh.
The court ruled that the Tiran and Sanafir islands at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba are sovereign Egyptian land, a judicial source said, requesting anonymity due to restrictions to speaking to the media.
Attendees at the courthouse have burst into cheers and chants, chanting “salute to justice”.
The verdict, however, is still subject to appeal.
In April, the Egyptian government announced that it was transferring the sovereignty of the two islands – which have been under Egypt’s control for more than six decades – to Saudi Arabia.
The government has defended the move, arguing that Egypt had taken control of the two islands in 1950 amid concerns that Israel might seize them.
The Egyptian parliament must approve the agreement to be valid.
Egyptian lawyers and activists have filed a lawsuit in the hope of revoking the controversial demarcation agreement.
“This is a historic verdict,” Khaled Ali, a lawyer who filed the lawsuit, wrote on his Facebook page.
The Egyptian government has yet to comment on the court ruling.
The two islands were occupied by Israel during the 1967 Middle East war, before being handed back to Egyptian control in 1982 when the two sides signed the Camp David peace accords.
The Egyptian government said that both Cairo and Riyadh had signed maritime demarcation accords that put the islands in Saudi water, a process it said had taken six years.
The deal, which was announced during a visit by Saudi King Salman to Egypt, has sparked public outrage and accusations against President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi of selling Egyptian lands to oil-rich Saudi Arabia.Last Mod: 21 Haziran 2016, 14:40