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Egypt cabinet sworn in, with most ministers retained

June 17, 2014 11:17 A.M. (Updated: June 18, 2014 3:09 P.M.)
CAIRO (AFP) -- An Egyptian cabinet led by Ibrahim Mahlab was sworn in Tuesday, with most positions from the previous military-installed government retained but the foreign minister replaced and an investment minister appointed.

The ministers took the oath of office before newly installed President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in an early morning ceremony broadcast live on state television.

Sisi, who led last year's ouster by the army of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, had tasked Prime Minister Mahlab with forming a new cabinet after his inauguration on June 8.

The new 34-member cabinet has 13 new ministers including Sameh Shoukri, a former ambassador to Washington, as the foreign minister.

He replaces Nabil Fahmy, who leaves the role despite having made a high-profile visit to the United States in April.

"The president must have had a say in choosing the new foreign minister as usually he chooses ministers of interior, foreign, defense and justice," said Mustapha Kamel al-Sayyid, political science professor at Cairo University.

The cabinet retains Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who has overseen a massive police crackdown on Morsi's supporters that has left 1,400 people dead and seen more than 15,000 jailed.

General Sedki Sobhi, who is the army chief, also stays on as defence minister.

The post of investment minister has been created in an apparent attempt to bolster an economy roiled by turmoil since the 2011 popular uprising that forced out long-time autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.

It was filled by Ashraf Salman, a former prominent investment banker.

Sisi, who won nearly 97 percent of the vote in last month's presidential election, faces a tough task to restore stability to Egypt, and to revive its economy.

The International Monetary Fund said in April that growth in Egypt's economy is expected to remain sluggish this year as uncertainty keeps tourists and foreign investors away.

The economy of the Arab world's most populated country was forecast to grow by 2.7 percent this year after expanding by 2.1 percent in 2013, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook.
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