An Egyptian court on Tuesday prevented the government from transferring two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. The Egyptian government responded by saying they will challenge the court's decision.
During Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's visit to Egypt in April, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi announced two Egyptian Islands, Tiran and Sanafir, would be ceded to Saudi Arabia.
“Egyptian sovereignty over the islands holds, and it [is] forbidden to change their status in any form or through any procedure for the benefit of any other state,” said State Council Vice President Judge Yehia El-Dakroury, who tried the suit, according to Egyptian media outlet Ahram Online.
Hours after Tuesday's ruling, the Egyptian government announced to challenge it.
"The government is studying the reasons for the ruling and will [...] challenge it at the higher administrative court of the State Council and request that [...] it be cancelled," Magdy al-Agaty, minister of legal and parliamentary affairs, said.
Egypt's parliament is also due to discuss the demarcation agreement in the coming weeks.
Egypt gov will go to court to convince it that two red sea islands are not Egyptian. My personal opinion aside, this does sound very awkward
— The Big Pharaoh (@TheBigPharaoh) 21 Haziran 2016
According to Saudi and Egyptian officials, the islands have only been under temporary Egyptian administration, that legally they have always been part of Saudi territory.
Egypt took control of the islands in 1950 with the permission of Saudi Arabia to protect them from Israel.
Nonetheless, thousands of Egyptians took to the streets to demonstrate the government’s decision to hand over the islands. They said the agreement with Saudi Arabia was unconstitutional. More than 150 people connected with the protests have been sentenced to prison by an Egyptian court.
Critics have accused Sisi of "selling" Egyptian territory in return for economic benefits from Saudi Arabia.