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Egypt changes defense, interior ministers in cabinet reshuffle
Last Updated: 2018-06-15 11:28 | Xinhua
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EGYPT-CAIRO-NEW CABINET

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi (front, C) and new cabinet members pose for a group photo in Cairo, Egypt, on June 14, 2018. The Egyptian new cabinet under Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli was sworn in on Thursday with newly appointed defense and interior ministers, the Egyptian state TV reported. New Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki and Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfik replaced their predecessors, Sedqi Sobhi and Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar respectively, in the new government, whose ministers took the official oath before President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. (Xinhua/MENA)

The Egyptian new cabinet under Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli was sworn in on Thursday with newly appointed defense and interior ministers, the Egyptian state TV reported.

General Mohamed Zaki, who led the republican guard since August 2012, became the new defense minister in place of Sedqi Sobhi, who had been serving the post since President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was first elected in 2014.

Mahmoud Tawfik, the head of the National Security department since October 2017, was chosen to succeed Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar at the Interior Ministry. Abdel-Ghaffar, a veteran security official, was appointed in 2015.

The major reshuffle in the security portfolios came while Egypt has been battling against militants who were behind terrorists attacks, which killed hundreds of security personnel and civilians across the country.

Egypt launched a major military operation in February against the terrorists mainly based in Sinai Peninsula and the Western Desert, near the Libyan border. During the massive campaign, nearly 286 militants, and 37 security men have been killed.

The new 33-member cabinet is led by Prime Minister Madbouli, who also serves as housing minister. It includes eight women and 12 new members.

The large-scale cabinet reshuffle included ministers of finance, trade and industry, health, agriculture, environment, communications, sports, civil aviation, local development and public enterprise.

Mohamed Ma'it, deputy finance minister in the outgoing cabinet, was promoted to minister, replacing Amr el-Garhy, who oversaw the recent economic reform and austerity measures that helped in securing Egypt's three-year 12 billion U.S. dollars International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.

In a press statement following the swearing in cermony, Ma'it said he will proceed with the economic reforms that aim at expanding social protection networks, improving standards of living and securing more job opportunities to reduce unemployment rates to the lowest possible level, which in turn could help achieve the desirable sustainable development goals.

Amr Nassar, the newly-appointed Trade and Industry minister, served as the deputy director of the International Association of Public Transport for the Middle East and North Africa region for three rounds, from 2008 to 2014.

He was the Secretary-General of the Export Council for Engineering Industries, and also a board member at the MCV international group for manufacturing commercial vehicles, which is considered among the world's top bus manufacturers.

"The key changes show that the new government will have a different vision and I am optimistic about it," lawmaker Ahmed Helmi al-Sherif told Xinhua following the reshuffle.

"The massive reshuffle is like new blood running in the nation's veins," he added.

Egypt's most recent cabinet reshuffle took place in January. It was partial and it involved the four ministers of culture, tourism, local development and public enterprise.

The former cabinet, led by former Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, resigned on June 5, days after Sisi was inaugurated for a second term.

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