Egypt appoints new defense and foreign ministers amid regional unrest


Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi on Wednesday swore in a new government including new defense and foreign ministers amid regional unrest and domestic economic problems.

Egypt, which hosts an estimated 9 million refugees and migrants, has been hit hard by fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement in the neighbouring Gaza Strip and by the civil war in Sudan.

Egyptian state media reported that Lt. Gen. Abdel-Maguid Saqr has been appointed defense minister, replacing Gen. Mohammed Zaky.

Egypt’s experienced Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will be replaced by Badr Abdel-Atty, a former ambassador to Germany.

During a televised swearing-in ceremony, newcomers in the portfolios of finance, oil, electricity, industry, housing, education, tourism, culture, justice and local development were also showcased.

The new government is led by Mustafa Madbouly, who has been Egypt’s prime minister since 2018.

Egypt, a country of about 105 million people, has been struggling with a serious economic crisis for months, including a currency crisis and sky-high inflation.

In an attempt to stabilize the economy, Egypt announced in March that the value of its weak currency would be determined by the market, resulting in further devaluation.

The country is also facing power shortages due to increased demand from intense summer heat and a shortage of gas needed to run power plants.

Last week, the European Union and Egypt signed a €1 billion ($1.08 billion) financing agreement for the Arab country. It is the first tranche of a larger €7.4 billion package announced by the EU in March.

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