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1st Sudan Cabinet sworn in since Bashir ouster

The Associated Press CAIRO (AP) — Sudan has sworn in its first Cabinet since the military ousted autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April following mass pro-democracy protests.

The new members include Sudan’s first woman foreign minister, Asmaa Abdalla, along with three other women, in an apparent acknowledgment of Sudanese women’s participation in the uprising.

The Cabinet is part of a power-sharing agreement between the military and pro-democracy demonstrators, which also includes a joint military-civilian sovereign council and a legislative body that is supposed to be formed within three months. The three bodies are to govern Sudan for little more than three years until elections can be held.

The agreement capped months of negotiations that were accompanied by a deadly crackdown by security forces. It was signed following pressure from the United States and its Arab allies amid growing concerns that the political crisis could ignite a civil war.

Eighteen Cabinet ministers were sworn in before the country’s top judge, Babaker Abbas, as well as Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the sovereign council. Hamdok is still negotiating with the pro-democracy movement over the last two ministerial posts to complete his 20-member Cabinet.

Burhan headed a joint ceremonial meeting of the Cabinet and the sovereign council.

The culture and information minister, Faisal Saleh, said at a televised news conference after the meeting that both bodies “share responsibility for achieving the targets ... and the whole world is watching” their performance.

Finance Minister Ibrahim Elbadawi, who is a former World Bank economist, said the governing bodies would carry out “urgent measures” in the first 200 days to “restructure the budget, control prices and tackle youth unemployment.”

The transitional administration faces towering challenges, including the dire economic conditions behind the protests late last year that eventually led the military to remove Bashir.

Bashir, who rose to power in an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989, failed to keep the peace in religiously and ethnically diverse Sudan, losing three-quarters of the country’s oil wealth when the mainly animist and Christian south seceded in 2011 following a referendum. Speech

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