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Sisi issues decree allowing Saudi citizen to buy Egyptian-only land

The economic slump has prompted Sisi to deepen Cairo’s ties with the richer Gulf countries especially Saudi Arabia

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Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has issued a decree allowing a Saudi national to buy a land previously allowed only for Egyptians to own, a statement published in the local Al-Jarida al-Rasmiya newspaper showed on Thursday.

The Saudi man, named Hamood bin Mohammed bin Nassir al-Salih, wanted to purchase two pieces of land - located on the Cairo-Alexandria desert highway - but was surprised to find out that only Egyptians were allowed to be the owners, the paper reported.

Without explaining how, the paper said this prompted Sisi to issue a decree allowing Salih to buy the land.

The news comes after judicial sources told Reuters that an Egyptian appeals court on Tuesday cancelled five-year prison terms handed to 47 people earlier this month for protesting a government decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi and Egyptian officials say the islands belong to the kingdom and were only under Egyptian control because Riyadh had asked Cairo in 1950 to protect them.

Egypt’s security has worsened since the ouster of its Islamist President Mohammad Mursi in a military coup, shaking its economy out of balance including its critical tourism sector.

This has prompted Sisi to deepen Cairo’s ties with the richer Gulf countries especially Saudi Arabia.

Showcasing the two countries’ cozying ties, Egypt’s cabinet has recently approved a $2.5 billion grant from Saudi Arabia, which was initially signed during King Salman Bin Abdel-Aziz’s visit to Cairo on 10 April, the official Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed final loan agreements worth over $24 billion during King Salman’s visit, according to Egypt’s minister of international cooperation.