Egyptian Court Blocks Plan to Transfer Two Islands to Saudi Arabia

An Egyptian court on Monday upheld a ruling that said the government cannot transfer control of two key Red Sea islands to its main financial backer, Saudi Arabia, deepening a rift between the two Middle Eastern countries.

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CAIRO — An Egyptian court on Monday upheld a ruling that said the government cannot transfer control of two key Red Sea islands to its main financial backer, Saudi Arabia, deepening a rift between the two Middle Eastern countries.

The alliance between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two of the most influential Sunni countries in the world, has been tense for over a year, with Egypt refusing to substantially bolster Saudi war efforts in Syria and Yemen, despite receiving over $25 billion in aid since 2013. Saudi Arabia has given the money in an effort to salvage Egypt’s economy, which has been battered by political turmoil since the 2011 uprising.

Monday’s verdict is widely expected to further shake, but not break, these strained ties.

“The Saudi government will be unhappy about this,” said Mustapha Kamel al-Sayyid, a political science professor at Cairo University. More info

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Celebrations erupted in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.CreditMohamed El-Shahed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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