Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir announced a new government with changes to the defence, foreign affairs and oil portfolios, state television reported only a few days after the start of his new presidential term.
Mohamed Zayed takes over the oil ministry, while Ibrahim Ghandour becomes Sudan’s top diplomat. Lieutenant-General Mostafa Osman Abeed was appointed acting defence minister, state television said. The reshuffle could mark a shift for Sudan, which has long laboured under a raft of UN and bilateral sanctions, including from the United States. al-Bashir, 71, said this week his country was open to dialogue with Western nations, an unusually conciliatory message from a leader facing charges at the International Criminal Court that he masterminded genocide and other atrocities in his campaign to crush a revolt in the Darfur region. He denies those charges.
Opposition figures have said al-Bashir’s continued rule has exacerbated Sudan’s isolation from global financial and political institutions. al-Bashir has kept a strong power base in the army and remains popular among many segments of the population He won 94% of the vote in a national election in April, the first since Sudan saw its south secede in 2011, but it was boycotted by most of the opposition. His ruling National Congress Party won 323 of 426 parliamentary seats.
The cabinet reshuffle also saw most of the state governors change, but it kept in place the first vice president and the vice president.