Egypt's foreign minister says the country's parliament has the power to annul a decision by the president to hand over two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

The minister, Sameh Shukry, is being quoted by the state MENA news agency Wednesday as saying that President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's decision on the two islands would be considered "non-existent" if the parliament — which has constitutional rights to review and endorse international accords — votes against it.

Shukri's comments come at a time when a high court in Egypt is reviewing a lawsuit against el-Sissi's decision to hand over Tiran and Sanafir islands to the kingdom.

The deal, announced during a high-profile visit by Saudi King Salman in April, has sparked the largest anti-government protests since the former army chief became president.