(FILES) This file photo taken on January 14, 2014, through the window of an airplane shows the Red Sea's Tiran (foreground) and the Sanafir (background) islands in the Strait of Tiran between Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and Saudi Arabia. AFP / STRINGER
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A senior constitutional panel in Egypt has concluded that two courts, which ruled to annul an agreement to transfer control of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, acted within their jurisdiction.The panel's report, published Thursday in Egyptian media, defies Egypt's Parliament, which the previous day overwhelmingly backed the 2016 deal on the islands transfer. The outcome of the vote was a foregone conclusion since the legislature is packed by supporters of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi whose government insists the islands belong to Saudi Arabia.The government, loyal media and lawmakers have gone to great lengths to support Saudi ownership of the islands, a stand that many Egyptians have found to be unusual and vexing given the strategic value of the islands.
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