Cairo, June 25 (IANS) Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has ratified the maritime demarcation deal with Saudi Arabia to transfer two Red Sea islands to the Saudi authorities, the media reported. Also Read - 'Forbidden by Islam': Egyptian Woman Arrested For Baking 'Indecent' Cakes Topped With Lingerie & Genitals

The Egyptian President’s ratification on Saturday comes more than a week after the Egyptian Parliament approved in a general vote the controversial agreement to hand over the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to the Saudis, Xinhua news agency reported. Also Read - Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban on International Flights, Land And Sea Entry

Egypt’s lawmakers were divided over the maritime demarcation deal, signed last year during a rare visit of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Egypt, yet the majority of members voted for it. The agreement cannot take effect without Sisi’s ratification. Also Read - Happy New Year 2021: 'May The Spirit of Hope & Wellness Prevail', PM Modi Extends Greetings

Sisi and his administration see that the two islands originally belonged to the oil-rich kingdom and it is time to return them to their rightful owners, while opposers of the deal believe that the islands are Egyptian and giving them up will be sacrificing national soil for temporary interests.

The deal has gone through a judicial debate in Egypt. While previous administrative court rulings invalidated the deal, a later verdict from the court of urgent matters halted the invalidation ruling.

Egypt’s top constitutional court ruled on Wednesday to temporarily halt all previous verdicts on the country’s islands transfer deal with Saudi Arabia until it makes a decision on the judicial conflict of the rulings.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.