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Egypt court nullifies transfer of 2 islands to Saudi Arabia

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-01-16 18:47

CAIRO - A top Egyptian court on Monday issued a final verdict that nullified the transfer of two Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia, state TV reported.

In the verdict, Egypt's High Administrative Court rejected the government's appeal against a previous court ruling voiding a deal that hands over the two islands to Riyadh.

The verdict is final and cannot be appealed.

In April, the Egyptian government signed an agreement to place both islands under Saudi sovereignty, saying that they had always belonged to the oil-rich Arab country and that Egypt had been merely administering them on behalf of the kingdom since the 1950s.

The decision to transfer the two islands prompted an outcry among Egyptians and provoked protests.

The uncertainty also stirred tension between Cairo and Riyadh, one of the main financial backers of Egypt since the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Saudi Arabia recently halted fuel shipments to Egypt.

In June, an Egyptian administrative court ruled the Egyptian-Saudi border re-demarcation agreement as void, demanding that the two islands remain under Egyptian sovereignty.

Egypt's State Lawsuits Authority, the body representing the government in legal cases, later filed and won a lawsuit before a court for urgent matters to stop the administrative court's verdict.

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