[JURIST] A court in Cairo on Tuesday invalidated the Egyptian president’s decision to give sovereignty over two islands to Saudi Arabia. In April President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi [BBC profile] transferred sovereignty of Tiran and Sanafir islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabian Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman [official profile] as a gesture of good will following a meeting in which deals for oil and development had been discussed. While some showed celebration within the court room, it is likely that the government will appeal [Guardian report] the ruling.
Last year Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement [JURIST report] to improve stability and safety in the region. The agreement, entitled the “Cairo Declaration” and signed in Cairo by al-Sisi and Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to boost military and social ties in the region, as well as improve economic stability. The relationship between the two countries has been improving since the ouster Islamist Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Saudi Arabia has in turn offered billions of dollars to aid Egypt in its joint bombing campaign with the Saudis against Yemen. The pact also sets out plans to build a new joint Arab military force to combat regional terrorism.