Egypt Daily Update: Official Gazette Publishes Ratification of Red Sea Island Deal

August 17, 2017

Official Gazette Publishes Ratification of Red Sea Island Deal

Hamas Says Wilayat Sinai Fighter Kills Border Guard in Gaza

Egypt’s First Bitcoin Exchange to Begin Trading This Month

Cartoon of the Day: Suggestions of the Representatives

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Official Gazette Publishes Ratification of Red Sea Island Deal

On Thursday, the Egyptian Official Gazette published [Ar] President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s decision to ratify the maritime demarcation agreement between Egypt that transfers sovereignty of the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia. The decisions issued by the Egyptian government are only legally effective after they have been published in the Official Gazette [Ar], which is issued every Thursday. The decision published in the Gazette stated, “The Maritime Border Agreement between the Governments of the Arab Republic of Egypt and of Saudi Arabia and the exchanged relevant letters, signed in Cairo on April 8, 2016, have been approved.” The Gazette mentioned [Ar] that the decision was made after reviewing the Constitution and receiving the approval of the Council of Ministers and Parliament.

Yasser Ismail, an expert in international law, told BBC Arabic that the two islands had been officially transferred to Saudi Arabia as a result of the publication of the decision in the Official Gazette. Ismail stipulated that though it was unlikely, if the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) rules against the government’s decision, al-Sisi might be forced to veto or renegotiate the agreement. However, even if the SCC rules against the agreement, Saudi Arabia would likely be able to resort to international arbitration since the islands have already been transferred. POMED’s in-depth look at the controversial maritime demarcation agreement is available here.


Hamas Says Wilayat Sinai Fighter Kills Border Guard in Gaza

In what appears to be a rare suicide attack against Hamas, a suicide bomber reportedly killed [Ar] a Hamas border guard after he was stopped while trying to cross into Egypt on Thursday. The Gazan Interior Ministry stated that two men were nearing Gaza’s border with Egypt when Hamas forces stopped them for a security check. After being stopped, one of the men detonated a suicide belt, killing himself and 28-year-old Hamas commander Nidal al-Jaafar, and also seriously injuring five other members of Hamas security forces and the man traveling with the bomber. The Interior Ministry described the attacker and his accomplice as “ideologically deviant,” the term that Hamas often uses to describe adherents to Islamic State ideology.

Eyewitnesses said [Ar] that the suicide bomber was from Rafah and was a fighter for Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate, Wilayat Sinai. This marks the first time that Hamas security forces have been targeted with a suicide bombing. Hamas has recently sought to improve ties with Egypt by increasing security along Gaza’s southern border with Egypt, and were recently rewarded with Egypt’s decision to open the Rafah border crossing for four days to allow thousands of Gazans to participate in the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Egypt and Israel have both consistently accused Hamas of aiding the Islamist militants fighting an insurgency in Egypt’s North Sinai region.


Egypt’s First Bitcoin Exchange to Begin Trading This Month

The founders of Bitcoin Egypt have announced that they will launch Egypt’s first bitcoin exchange next month. Bitcoin Egypt founder Rami Khalil said that the Egyptian government has yet to set any legal regulations on bitcoin, but that “crypto-assets are happening whether (the Egyptian government) joins in or not. And by not joining, they’re missing out on a very big market. Currently, bitcoin is about a $70 million market.” He added that the exchange has already received about 300 pre-launch registrations. The platform would allow Egyptians to trade in increasingly devalued Egyptian pounds for bitcoins. The value of bitcoin has soared by around four times since the beginning of 2017, with the currency currently trading around $4,400. Bitcoin’s lack of central authority would likely be ideal for Egypt’s large unregulated cash economy, but the same reason may motivate the Egyptian government to attempt to regulate the anonymous online currency.


Cartoon of the Day: Suggestions of the Representatives

Right: “Suggestions of the representatives”
Center: “The Constitution”
Doaa el-Adl – Al-Masry Al-Youm – 08/17/2017


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