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Middle East
Oman ruler orders cabinet reshuffle
Move is the latest in a string of concessions aimed at appeasing protesters demanding jobs and political reforms.
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2011 16:20 GMT
A sit-in at a roundabout in Sohar entered its ninth day on Monday, with activists calling for more reforms [Al Jazeera]

Oman's Sultan Qaboos has ordered a major cabinet reshuffle after weeks of anti-government protests in the strategic Gulf state, state television said.

Monday's directive follows a mini-cabinet reshuffle that resulted in three senior government officials being replaced while protesters pressed demands for more reforms and an end to corruption.

"The sultan of Oman has ordered a reshuffle of the council of ministers," a television announcer said, before reading the names of members of the reshaped cabinet.

One protester was killed in clashes between police and demonstrators in the northern industrial city of Sohar last week, but Oman has been spared the turmoil that has gripped regional states like Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

A peaceful sit-in at a roundabout in Sohar entered its ninth day on Monday, with activists demanding the sacking of more ministers for alleged corruption.

Another crowd has maintained an anti-corruption sit-in outside the consultative council in Muscat, the capital, which is the sultanate's equivalent of parliament but without legislative authority.

Oman is the co-guardian with Iran of the strategic Strait of Hormuz entrance to the oil-rich Gulf.

It has been ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Said since he overthrew his father, Sultan Said bin Taymur, in a bloodless coup in 1970.

The Al-Busaid dynasty has ruled Oman since 1750, enjoying British support since the end of the 19th century. In 1980, Muscat signed a treaty with Washington providing for the stockpiling of heavy US weapons in Omani military bases.

The sultanate remains an ally of the US and Britain.

Source:
Agencies
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