Somalia prime minister unveils leaner cabinet

Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid appoints 10 ministers, including a woman who will serve as foreign minister.

    Somalia has unveiled a new leaner cabinet in which a woman has been appointed as foreign minister for the first time in the country's history.

    Fowsiyo Yusuf Haji Adan, the new minister, hails from the self-declared independent state of Somaliland and lived in Britain for a long time.

    Another woman named to the new government, Maryan Qasim Ahmed, will take the portfolio of development and social affairs. She had previously served as women's minister.

    "After long discussions and consultations, I have named my cabinet which consists of only 10 members," Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid, the prime minister, said on Sunday.

    "My nomination as the foreign minister is historic for the Somali country and particularly for the women of Somalia," Adan said. "It turns a new page for the political situation of our country and will lead to success and prosperity."

    Abdihakin Haji Mohamud Fiqi was named defence minister. He had previously held the same post.

    The new administration brings eight years of transitional rule by the corruption-riddled and Western-backed government to an end.

    Saaid himself was appointed in October by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

    His new cabinet will now have to be approved by the Somali parliament.

    Several Somali clans were excluded from the new government, a potential issue in a country where clan balance is vital in political life.

    Somalia has been ravaged by war for two decades after warlords overthrew a longtime dictator in 1991 and then turned on each other.

    The government, backed by African Union troops from Uganda and Burundi, is currently battling al-Shabab, an anti-government group linked to al-Qaeda.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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