Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has said the country’s parliament is studying the decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia and will form committees that will decide whether to ratify the move.
“Each state body respects the role of the other one. For instance, the Red Sea agreement with Saudi Arabia is now being studied by the parliament, which will form committees to decide whether to ratify it or not, with no pressure at all from any entity,” El-Sisi said in a televised interview yesterday.
In April, Egypt and Saudi Arabia had agreed to maritime borders that handed ownership of the disputed Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, over to Riyadh.
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Several activists rallied against the decision as the two islands were under Egypt’s control for over 60 years.
Many of them are currently facing trial for “illegally protesting” aganist the government’s decision.
El-Sisi said though the state was not against the right to protest, it should happen in a legal manner.
He also said 90 per cent of the people currently in custody are being held for criminal charges.
“We are currently studying the cases of the few remaining percentage and soon I will release a fourth batch of prisoners as I did three times before,” he added.
El-Sisi also spoke on the restive Sinai province, saying terrorism in the region is limited to a very small area and the country has been giving great attention to the peninsula that has been marginalised for decades.
“Terrorism is occurring in the area that is located between our borders with Gaza to Al-Arish city of North Sinai, which represents only 2 to 3 per cent of the whole area of the Sinai peninsula,” the President said.
He also said that Egypt is currently managing eight national projects that are being implementing by more than 1,000 companies and about 2 million Egyptian workers.
“The cost of those projects is more than EGP 1.3 trillion ($146 billion) so that’s why we’re being very cautious and getting in to details, to avoid any corruption,” he said.
The President said the military is participating in these projects only to monitor the performance and to make sure that the expenditure is wisely spent.
As for the education and health sectors, he said those areas would take “between 12 and 13 years” to be developed and improved.