In 1950, Saudi Arabia's founder King Abdulaziz Al Saud had requested Egypt to protect those islands which has been the case since then.
Drawing up the maritime border for both countries had been in progress for over six years.
"This enables both countries to benefit from the exclusive economic zone for each, with whatever resources and treasures they contain," the statement said.
中文報導說「最高憲法法院」，察看英文the Supreme Administrative Court.，應該為「最高行政法院」。
割島換金援 埃及總統准了 自由20170626
Timeline of 2016 Saudi-Egyptian maritime demarcation agreement
- 8 April – Agreement signed
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman bin Abdelaziz Al-Saud attended the signing ceremony of several cooperation agreements in various fields, according to the State Information Services (SIS). At the bottom of several agreements, SIS mentions that “Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdelaziz signed an agreement on maritime border demarcation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia”.
Amid little state transparency, concerns regarding the agreement are voiced on social media networks and in the media.
- 9 April – Agreement details revealed
In its second press release for the day, the cabinet states that among the important achievements of the Saudi king’s visit “there was also the signing of the maritime border agreement, which would enable the two states to economically benefit from the region”.
The cabinet declares that Tiran and Sanafir islands were relocated to be inside Saudi Arabia’s regional waters. This is the first official acknowledgment of the cessation of the islands.
The cabinet states that the two states were negotiating the issue for more than six years through a committee, which based its decision on letters exchanged between the two countries. The letters include a request sent by the Saudi king in 1950 demanding Egypt handle the protection of the islands.
- 10 April – Human rights lawyer Khaled Ali and others file a lawsuit before the State Council demanding the annulment of the maritime border agreement.
- 13 April – As criticism mounts on the state’s handling of the issue and debate increases, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi holds a meeting with a number of “representatives of society” in Itihadiya Palace, in which he calls on their allegiance, reaffirms Saudi sovereignty over the islands, and prevents discussion from preceding on the issue.
The regime begins to crackdown on dissidents, which includes arresting activists.
- 15 April – Nationwide demonstrations take place against the maritime demarcation agreement. Protesters chant against Al-Sisi and maintain that the islands are Egyptian. One of the largest protests in Cairo takes place at the Press Syndicate.
More arrests take place, followed by trials.
- 21 April – A local newspaper leaks comments from a meeting between Al-Sisi and Ministry of Interior officials, reporting that the president ordered a tight grip so that “the incidents of last week are not repeated”.
A statement from the presidency denies the media report.
The same night, police storm cafes and carry out random arrests, in addition to raiding the houses of several political activists.
The raids continue the next day.
- 25 April – Protests take place once more, resulting in a high number of arrests of youth and journalists. Hundreds of youth face trials amid public controversy.
- 14-15 May – Prison terms issued for groups of protesters.
- 23 May – Political parties launch sit-in in protest of agreement.
- 25 May – Court reverses some of the prison verdicts, but refuses to drop heavy fines.
- 30 May – Trial contesting islands demarcation unfolds as the government is fined for not presenting required documents to the court.
- 5 June – Acquittals in protest cases begin.
- 14 June – Trial continues for contestation lawsuits, as lawyers present documents proving Egypt’s sovereignty over the islands.
- 21 June – State Council verdict annuls agreement, affirms Egyptian sovereignty over the islands.
Egypt/Saudi Arabia: Bilateral Agreement on Maritime Demarcation Approved by Ministers
(Jan. 12, 2017) On December 29, 2016, the Council of Ministers of Egypt approved a maritime demarcation agreement between the governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. According to the agreement, Saudi Arabia will assume control over two islands in the Red Sea that have been under the control of Egypt. Following its approval of the agreement, the Council of Ministers referred it to the Parliament for further debate. (Cabinet Approves Red Sea Islands Demarcation Deal, Sends Agreement to Parliament, DAILY NEWS EGYPT (Dec. 29, 2016).)
On January 2, 2017, the Judicial Committee of the Parliament declared that it had received the provisions of the agreement from the Council of Ministers and announced that it would disseminate the agreement among the Members of Parliament for open discussion. (Demarcation Agreement Will Be Discussed with Full Transparency: Parliament’s Judicial Committee, DAILY NEWS EGYPT (Jan. 2, 2017).)
The agreement has been the subject of public debate since April 2016, when the Egyptian media announced that it had been approved by the government. A group of Egyptian lawyers, as plaintiffs, filed a lawsuit that same month before the State Council Administrative Court (a first instance court) challenging the legality of the agreement. In June 2016, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs by abolishing the agreement and ordered the Egyptian state to continue to exercise all acts of sovereignty over the two islands. (George Sadek, Egypt: Repeal of Maritime Demarcation Agreement with Saudi Arabia, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (June 23, 2016).)
Following the decision of the first instance court, the Egyptian government filed an appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court. The Supreme Administrative Court has scheduled a final hearing on January 16, 2017, to render its final decision on this matter. (Administrative Court Postpones Final Verdict on Red Sea Islands Deal to 16 January, DAILY NEWS EGYPT (Dec. 19, 2016).)
Reaction to Referral of the Agreement to the Legislature
Lawyers and human rights activists, such as Malek Al-Adly, one of the lawyers who challenged the legality of the agreement, consider the Council of Ministers’ action of sending the agreement to the Parliament to be a violation of Egyptian law. Al-Adly argues that the Council of Ministers does not have the legal authority to refer the agreement to the Parliament, because the legality of the agreement is being disputed in court. (Sending Red Sea Islands Agreement to Parliament Is a Violation: Malek Adly, DAILY NEWS EGYPT (Dec. 30, 2016).)
Al-Adly also claims that the Egyptian government failed to submit to the Administrative Court any documents supporting the government’s claim hat the agreement is legal. He further suggests that the government’s referral of the agreement to the legislative branch defies the decision issued by the first instance court that had declared the agreement to be illegal. (Id.) Finally, Al-Adly says that the referral is directly in violation of article 123 of the Penal Code, which obligates public servants to follow all court decisions. (Id.; Law No. 58 of 1937 (Criminal Code), as last amended by Law No. 95 of 2003, 25 AL-JARIDAH AL-RASMIYAH [OFFICIAL GAZETTE] (June 19, 2003), MOHAMOON.COM (in Arabic).)