CAIRO – Egypt's Cabinet has approved the transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia despite protests earlier this year and a court ruling that said the transfer was unconstitutional.
The state-run MENA news agency reported Thursday that President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government approved the deal and sent it to parliament for ratification despite the court ruling, which the government has appealed.
The transfer was announced alongside a Saudi aid package, leading critics to condemn it as a land sell-off. The government insists the two islands were always part of Saudi Arabia but were placed under Egypt's protection decades ago.
The signing of the agreement in April set off the largest demonstrations of el-Sissi's two-year rule. The Supreme Administrative Court is set to rule on the agreement on Jan. 16.