Egypt Independent

Top court adjourns case on Red Sea islands agreement



Sunday, the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) adjourned the conflict of jurisdiction case between the State Council courts and Summary Proceedings courts over the Red Sea islands agreement, until October 14.

Last month, SCC temporarily halted all court rulings on the Red Sea islands agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to allot more time to study the case and issue a final and decisive verdict. The Commissioners Authority of SCC recommended this suspension, after two different courts made opposing rulings on the case.

The two contradictory rulings issued by the Supreme Administrative Court, which ruled to nullify the agreement, and the Summary Proceedings Court, which ruled in favor of the agreement, led the State Lawsuits Authority (SLA), which represents the government, to file a case of conflict of jurisdiction.

According to the border demarcation deal signed in April 2016, the two islands are deemed to be within Saudi territorial waters, in recognition of historical claims on the part of Saudi Arabia. The Supreme Administrative Court, however, nullified this agreement on the basis that there was insufficient evidence of the Saudi claims.

The agreement provoked extensive criticism against the government last April and people took to the streets to protest against the decision, which was followed by a security crackdown.

In late December, Egypt’s government approved the agreement and sent it to Parliament for ratification, despite a legal dispute over the plan. The parliament ratified the agreement in June and approved the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified the agreement the same month.

Edited Translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm