Egyptian cabinet approves demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia

Cairo: The Egyptian cabinet approved a maritime border demarcation agreement signed between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, local media reports said.

According to state-run MENA news agency, the cabinet decided to refer the agreement to the House of Representatives after finalizing all required preparations and procedures for endorsement in line with the constitution, Xinhua news agency reported.

Egypt’s cabinet announced in April that the joint Egyptian-Saudi technical maritime border drawing showed the islands of Tiran and Sanafir fall within the Saudi waters.

The agreement provoked an immediate backlash in Egypt, with hundreds of people protesting against “selling the islands”.

The administrative court later ruled that “all rights of the two islands to Saudi Arabia are null and void”. The State Lawsuits Authority, the body representing the government in legal cases, then appealed the decision.

On December 19, Egypt’s High Administrative Court has set January 16 as the date when it will rule on the government’s appeal against its earlier ruling nullifying the demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia.

The islands, which have a strategic significance in the area, are currently inhabited only by military personnel from Egypt as well as the multinational force and observers.

The government’s decision Thursday came as relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been going through ups and downs due to their different visions on various issues including the Syrian crisis, the war in Yemen and other issues.