President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a presidential decree permitting King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa to own two villas located in the South Sinai governorate, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt’s state’s official Gazette stated on Monday.
In 2016, “Sisi issued a presidential decree approving treating Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa as an Egyptian citizen in accordance with the law on Sinai development. The decree is also applicable to the possession of lands and villas in Naama Bay of Sharm el Shiekh city for the purpose of residence,” reads a statement on State Information Service website.
In accordance to the Sinai Development Law No.14/2012, any land on the Sinai Peninsula can only be owned by Egyptian nationals.
Before 2012, Arabs had the right to own a land in Sinai on the basis of a 99-year-lease-period, according to the state-run newspaper of Al-Ahram.
In 2015, the 2012 law was amended by the decree No.95/2015, which stipulates that properties in Sinai can only be owned by Egyptian nationals who were born to an Egyptian parent or companies that are entirely owned by Egyptians. According to the law, any contract that does not abide by such rules is void.
However, the law allows for exceptions to be made based on a presidential decree, with the approval of ministries of defense and interior, the General Intelligence Directorate, and the Cabinet. Such a decree permits specified Arab nationals to be treated as Egypian citizens in the case of personal residences built in Sinai.