Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has defended the transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, which sparked the largest protests of his presidency and was declared unconstitutional last week.

He said Wednesday that "the state will present all documents and evidence," adding "we have to nothing to hide."

The transfer, announced during an April visit by King Salman alongside billions of dollars in Saudi aid, ignited street protests, with critics accusing the government of selling off sovereign territory. Last week a court struck down the transfer in a rare public rebuke of el-Sissi's government.

The government is appealing the ruling. It says the islands of Tiran and Sanafir were always Saudi, but were placed under Egyptian protection in 1950.

El-Sissi had previously refused to discuss the matter.