Mon, 23 Sep 2019

First Sudan cabinet since Omar al-Bashir sworn in

News24
10 Sep 2019, 04:11 GMT+10

Sudan swore in its first cabinet since the removal of former president Omar al-Bashir in April following nationwide protests against his rule. The 18-member cabinet led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, which includes four women, took the oath at the presidential palace in Khartoum on Sunday.

The new members include Sudan's first female Foreign Minister Asmaa Abdalla, and a former World Bank economist Ibrahim Ahmad al-Badawi as finance minister.

The cabinet is expected to steer the daily affairs of the country during a transition period of 39 months until the general elections.

The line-up was formed after Sudan last month swore in a "sovereign council" - a joint civilian-military ruling body that aims to oversee the transition.

The 18 ministers were seen greeting members of the sovereign council, including its chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in images broadcast by state television from the palace.

The sovereign council itself is the result of a power-sharing deal between protesters and generals who seized power after the army ousted Bashir in April. Hamdok is still negotiating with the pro-democracy movement over the last two cabinet posts.

"We have to put in a lot of efforts to meet our people's demands," Information Minister Faisal Mohamed Saleh told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony.

"The world is watching us. It is waiting to see how we can solve our issues."

Reporting from Khartoum, Al Jazeera's Hiba Morgan said the prime minister promised to make bringing peace to the country and reviving a battered economy his government's top priorities. 190906095328502

"The prime minister had said in order to revive the economy and to stabilise it the country needs at least $2bn initially and then another $8bn to continue the recovery," Morgan added.

Hamdock and his team will be inheriting a ravaged banking sector, annual inflation at more than 40 percent, with shortages in basic commodities such as fuel and flour - a situation that in December sparked the protests that eventually deposed Bashir.

Newly appointed Finance Minister Badawi on Sunday said: "We have a 200-day programme for reviving the economy in a way that could help reduce the cost of living for our people in the near term."

"We also have a long term plan to restructure the overall economy," he said, adding the country was soon expecting new donations to help tackle some immediate challenges.

Hamdok's cabinet is also expected to lead Sudan in ending several internal conflicts in three regions of the country.

Rebel groups from marginalised regions of Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan states had waged long wars against Bashir's forces.

"The road ahead is not easy. We will face many challenges but we have to work on them," said Walaa Issam, minister for youth and sports.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged atrocities in the Darfur region more than a decade ago, in a war that killed an estimated 300 000 people and forced 2.7 million from their homes.

The conflict broke out in 2003 when ethnic minority groups took up arms against Bashir's Arab-dominated government, accusing it of discrimination and neglect.

The ICC in The Hague issued arrest warrants against him in 2009 and 2010 on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur.

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