One of the three courts before whom the government appealed the islands deal annulment has rejected the appeal and upheld that Tiran and Sanafir belong to Egypt.
An administrative court has rejected the Egyptian government’s appeal against an earlier court rule voiding Egypt and Saudi Arabia’s agreement by which the former relinquished the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to the latter, reports Ahram Online. The government appealed the annulment before three courts, so the other two have yet to rule on the matter, according to the New York Times.
Back in June, an administrative court overturned the demarcation deal between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which placed the Red Sea islands under Saudi sovereignty. The government then responded by appealing the court rule, arguing that the Tiran and Sanafir islands have always belonged to the Kingdom, and that Egypt had agreed to 'return' them to Saudi Arabia in 1990, but both parties agreed to postpone execution until the region stabilised.
The move sparked uproar at the time it was announced, as many took to the streets to protest, accusing the government of trading Egyptian lands for rapprochement with Saudi Arabia. The protests resulted in the imprisonment of many activists, who had all been acquitted after a Cairo misdemeanour appeals court upheld a previous court ruling exonerating them of wrongdoing on Sunday, according to the Middle East Monitor.
This comes following a statement from an Egyptian official that oil shipments from Saudi Arabia have been halted indefinitely, according to Reuters. Ties between Egypt and Saudi Arabia have suffered lately due to contrasting stances on major regional geopolitical issues, namely the Syrian crisis, especially after Egypt's alignment with Russia's position on the issue.