Egypt Independent

Parliament to discuss Red Sea islands agreement within days

Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that the House of Representatives Legislative Committee will start in a few days discussing the demarcation agreement signed between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, upon which Tiran and Sanafir islands are to be placed under Saudi control.
MP Mostafa Bakry said he asked Parliament Speaker Ali Abdelaal to broadcast the agreement discussion session live on TV, which Abdelaal did not mind.
Abdelaal stressed that the Committee has the right to call the opponents of the Convention and all experts of international law to listen to their views during the discussion, in order for the full picture to be made clear to public opinion, said Bakry.
Abdelaal referred to Article 151 of the Constitution, which states that the House of Representatives has the right to discuss international conventions.
Bakry called on the opponents of the agreement to prepare their documents for discussion in the parliament. He said that the parliament has no personal interest in the issue and only seeks the truth.
He expressed hope that there will not be a deadline for discussing the agreement.

Egypt’s Administrative Court set June 6 as the date to rule on the controversial legal jurisdiction dispute regarding the Egyptian-Saudi maritime border demarcation agreement on the two Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir.

Egyptian rights lawyer, Khaled Ali, had earlier filed a lawsuit demanding the suspension of the verdict from the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters. The court ruled earlier this month to revoke the High Administrative Court's final decision to uphold Egypt’s sovereignty over the two islands.

The deal, signed in April 2016 by Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, stipulated that the sovereignty of Tiran and Sanafir islands would be transferred to Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters nullified the Supreme Administrative Court's final ruling from January, declaring the transfer of the Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia as void. The verdict, which was announced to be final and can no longer be appealed, confirmed that Egypt cannot legally transfer the islands to Saudi Arabia.

Last week, Egypt’s Parliament referred the agreement to its Legislative Committee for review.

"The decision issued by the Parliament Speaker to refer the Red Sea islands demarcation agreement to the Legislative Committee is illegal, as no entity has the authority to discuss it following the judicial verdicts on the agreement," Khaled Ali previously told Egypt Independent.

He added that the Parliament's renewed discussion of the agreement is a sign of the judicial system's collapse in Egypt.

"Neither the Parliament nor any authority may discuss a judicial verdict; this will be considered as disrespectful to a state institution," he said.

The two islands, located in the Red Sea to the east of the Sinai Peninsula and the west of the Arabian Peninsula, have previously been administered by Egypt; but Saudi Arabia has also laid claim to them.

In 1949, Saudi Arabia agreed to let Egypt occupy the two islands 'for defensive purposes' following the establishment of the Israeli state. Egypt proceeded to block the passage through the Strait of Tiran, Israel’s only maritime passage from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Red Sea.

Tiran Island was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 and remained under Israeli control until 1982.

Egypt maintains that it never had full sovereignty over the two islands and was simply controlling them administratively.