Egypt to keep is­lands

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

CAIRO: An Egyp­tian court has re­jected a gov­ern­ment plan to trans­fer two un­in­hab­ited Red Sea is­lands to Saudi Ara­bia. The fi­nal rul­ing was met with cheers in the court but could deepen ten­sions with the coun­try’s erst­while fi­nan­cial backer.

Egypt’s gov­ern­ment an­nounced dur­ing a visit by the Saudi king in April a mar­itime de­mar­ca­tion ac­cord that would see it cede con­trol of Ti­ran and Sanafir.

The deal prompted protests from Egyp­tians who said the is­lands be­longed to them.

It has be­come a source of ten­sion be­tween Egypt and Saudi Ara­bia, which show­ered its ally with tens of bil­lions of dol­lars in aid in re­cent years but sus­pended petroleum sup­plies in Septem­ber amid grow­ing dif­fer­ences. The court based its rul­ing on “ir­refutable ev­i­dence” plus lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional prac­tices, re­mov­ing doubt that the is­lands be­longed to Egypt alone. – Reuters

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