Bashir names new oil, foreign ministers in Sudan reshuffle

Omar al-Bashir (File: AFP)
Omar al-Bashir (File: AFP)

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Monday appointed new oil and foreign ministers in a major reshuffle that saw four other ministers changed amid a worsening economic crisis, state media reported.

The reshuffle comes weeks after Bashir sacked his previous foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour following his comments that he had been unable to pay diplomats for months due to a shortage of funds.

The cabinet overhaul was approved by Bashir's ruling National Congress Party at a meeting late on Sunday, the official news agency SUNA reported.

In a presidential decree on Monday, Bashir replaced his oil, interior, agriculture, youth and sports and justice ministers and also announced a new foreign minister replacing Ghandour, the official SUNA news agency reported.

The reshuffle saw Al-Dierdiry al-Dhikheri named as the new foreign minister, Ibrahim Hamid as interior minister and Azhari Abdallah as oil minister.

Bashir also changed five ministers of state and eight governors, SUNA reported.

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The changes come amid a worsening economic crisis in the East African country.

Last month Bashir fired Ghandour - who led negotiations with Washington to lift a decades-old trade embargo on Khartoum - after he told parliament his diplomats had gone unpaid for months.

Sudan has been facing financial difficulties amid an acute shortage of hard foreign currency that has seen the country's economic crisis further deteriorate.

The foreign currency shortage has seen the pound plunging against the dollar, forcing the central bank to devalue it twice since January.

Expectations of a quick economic revival were high in the aftermath of October 12 when Washington lifted sanctions imposed on Khartoum since 1997.

But officials say the situation has not changed at all as international banks continue to be wary of doing business with Sudanese banks.

Sudan's overall economy had been hit particularly hard after the south separated from the north in 2011, taking with it about 75% of oil earnings.

A surging inflation rate of about 56%, regular fuel shortages and rising prices of food items have often triggered sporadic anti-government protests in Khartoum and some other towns.

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