Sudan's President Bashir forms new government

Bashir dissolved his last cabinet when he was sworn in for a new five-year term last Tuesday

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir formed a new government late Saturday, state media reported, more than a month after he swept elections boycotted by the mainstream opposition and marred by poor turnout.

Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, dissolved his last cabinet when he was sworn in for a new five-year term last Tuesday.

He handed the key foreign portfolio to Ibrahim Ghandour, a former presidential assistant, and appointed Mohamed Zayed oil minister, state broadcaster al-Sudan reported.

Lieutenant General Mustafa Osman Obeid, the army's chief-of-staff, was appointed acting defence minister.

He replaces Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, who is also wanted by the ICC over charged related to the Darfur conflict.

The new government will be made up of 31 cabinet ministers, al-Sudan said.

Early on Sunday, Bashir also "issued republican decree number 20 which decided the appointment of" governors for Sudan's 18 states, including ex-defence minister Hussein for Khartoum.

Bashir had vowed to open a "new page" for Sudan at his inauguration last week, saying he would mend ties with the West, tackle corruption and bring peace to the country.

But Bashir kept several key figures in their positions, including Finance Minister Badereldien Mahmoud and Interior Minister Ismat Abdul Rahman, al-Sudan said.

Bashir, 71, seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.

His new government will have to work to right an ailing economy and end the conflicts roiling Sudan's border regions.

Bashir won elections in April with more than 94 percent of the vote, standing against 13 little known candidates for the presidency.

The vote was boycotted by most opposition parties and by rebel groups in the western region of Darfur and in the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Ethnic insurgents launched a rebellion in Darfur in 2003, and Bashir government's unleashed the armed forces and allied militiamen.

More than 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict, the United Nations says, and more than 2.5 million have been displaced.

The ICC indicted Bashir in 2009 for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, and in 2010 for genocide.

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