Somali PM names new cabinet

09:02, July 21, 2011      

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Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali on Wednesday named an 18-member cabinet after weeks of anticipation.

The prime minister who was overwhelmingly approved by the Somali parliament this month promised to form a "small and competent" government that will follow the same policies of his predecessor Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed.

In a statement emailed to the media, the new prime minister named, as expected, new faces in the cabinet which will have to be endorsed by the Somali parliament in the next few days.

The Harvard-educated premier took over following the resignation by former prime minister amid rifts within the top government leaders and in line with an agreement reached in the Ugandan capital Kampala in June.

Mohamed Mohamoud haji Ibrahim was named as foreign minister and deputy prime minister and Abdisamad Moalin Mohamoud Sheikh Hassan was given the portfolio of the interior and national security.

The Ministry of Finance went to Abdinasir Mohamed Abdulle. Hussein Arab Isse was named as the minister of defense and deputy prime minister of the new Somali government.

The new Somali government is expected to face huge challenges as the country is suffering severe drought and famine in the south while battling Islamist insurgency.

The Somali government controls only parts of the capital while Islamist rebels run much of south and center of the war-torn country.

The government which has one-year term to fulfill a number of transitional tasks including the drafting of a new constitution for the country to complete the reconciliation process.

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