The Strait of Tiran and Tiran Island in the Red Sea. (The Daily Star/Marc Ryckaert)
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Cairo will do all it can to preserve crucial ties with Saudi Arabia, experts say, after an Egyptian court ruled against government plans to transfer control of two islands to Riyadh.Monday's ruling – which saw Egypt's top administrative court block the transfer of the Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia – is likely to fuel concerns in Riyadh.Still, analysts say Egypt's government, which relies on Riyadh for vital financial backing, will take steps to ensure the dispute does not escalate further.Neither government has so far commented on the ruling, which upheld a previous court decision that the two islands – Tiran and Sanafir – are sovereign Egyptian territories.Saudi Arabia is also one of Egypt's main trading partners and any cooling in relations could become "a difficult economic challenge" for Cairo, says a government official speaking on condition of anonymity.
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