Tags: ML | Egypt | Saudi

Egyptian Court Rejects Border Demarcation Pact with Saudi

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 06:00 AM

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court on Tuesday rejected as illegal a demarcation border agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia under which Cairo would surrender control over two strategic Red Sea islands to Riyadh.

The verdict by the administrative court inflicts a serious foreign policy setback to President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government which, together with loyal media, has zealously argued that the agreement would bring economic benefits for Egypt and that the islands are owned by Saudi Arabia, which placed them under Egyptian control in 1950 for protection.

The verdict by the administrative court, which rules on cases involving the government, can be appealed.

The agreement was announced in April during a high-profile visit to Cairo by the Saudi monarch, King Salman, during which he announced a multi-billion dollar aid package to Egypt. That has given rise to claims that the islands would be given to the Saudis as a pay-off, something that the government has rejected.

Saudi Arabia has been a major financial backer to Egypt since el-Sissi, as defense minister, led the military's 2013 ouster of the Islamist Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president.

El-Sissi has acknowledged that the demarcation negotiations were held in secrecy to avoid the unwanted media attention and opposition to the deal. "Please, I don't want anyone to talk about this anymore," he angrily said in April.

"This is a very important step," said Khalid Ali, a prominent rights lawyer and former presidential candidate who brought the case against the government over the deal. "I appeal to the Egyptian government ... to implement the court's ruling."

Ali spoke as about two dozen supporters who had gathered outside the court chanted "bread, freedom, those islands are Egyptian," a play on the most popular slogan of Egypt's 2011 uprising — "bread, freedom and social justice" — that toppled the rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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MiddleEast
An Egyptian court on Tuesday rejected as illegal a demarcation border agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia under which Cairo would surrender control over two strategic Red Sea islands to Riyadh.The verdict by the administrative court inflicts a serious foreign policy...
ML,Egypt,Saudi
305
2016-00-21
Tuesday, 21 June 2016 06:00 AM
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