Tuesday 27 June 2017

Sudan's first PM since 1989 coup names new cabinet

Sudan's first PM since 1989 coup names new cabinet
(AFP (eng) 05/12/17)
Sudan's first PM since 1989 coup names new cabinet

Sudan's first prime minister since 1989 has named a new government and vowed to resolve insurgencies in border regions and heal the country's crisis-wracked economy.

The new cabinet was unveiled late Thursday by Bakri Hassan Saleh, appointed in March as Sudan's first prime minister since the post was scrapped in an Islamist-backed coup that brought President Omar al-Bashir to power.

Saleh said the government would prioritise "increasing production, improving people's living standards and achieving peace."

Sudan has been rocked by years of conflict with rebels in the vast western region of Darfur and the southern Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

Bashir is wanted by the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide and war crimes related to the conflict in Darfur.

Fighting erupted there in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Bashir's Arab-dominated government, accusing it of marginalising the region economically and politically.

Sudan's economy has also been suffering from the loss of three-quarters of its oil resources when South Sudan gained independence in 2011.

It has been rocked by demonstrations against the government which reduced subsidies and raised prices on certain commodities.

Since 1997 Khartoum has been under United States sanctions, some of which are set to be lifted in July under an executive order president Barack Obama signed a week before he left office.

Saleh's appointment came after a national dialogue that concluded in October but was boycotted by most mainstream opposition and rebel groups.

Following the talks, Sudanese lawmakers voted to reinstate the role of prime minister. Bashir called Saleh's appointment a "major step".

But the president retained the right to form a government or sack ministers, and observers said the move was broadly a continuation of his nearly 28-year rule.

Opposition figures, including Sadiq al-Mahdi -- who was prime minister at the time of the coup -- will play no role in the new 31-minister cabinet.

The foreign and defence ministers in the previous government, Ibrahim Ghandour and Mohamed Ahmed bin Awaf, kept their posts, while the interior, finance and petroleum ministers were replaced.

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