SYRIA - Dec. 13 - Govt. Reshuffle.
The state-run SANA news agency reports 20 positions within the
cabinet change hands, with Ghassan Rifai replacing Mohammad Imadi as the
minister of economy and foreign trade; Mohammad Hussein taking the post
of Khaled Raad, the deputy prime minister for economic affairs; and
Mohammad Atrash taking over as finance minister. The ministers of
petroleum, interior, communications and agriculture are also replaced
with the new ones. (The reshuffle is widely seen as a sign that Pres.
Bashar Assad is serious about reforming the centrally planned economy).
PM Mohammad Mero will stay on, as will FM Farouk Shara and Defence
Minister Gen. Mustafa Tlas - veterans from the government of Hafez