Beirut, Apr 3 : Syrian President Bashar Assad appointed a former agriculture minister today to form a new government, part of a series of overtures toward reform as the country faces a wave of anti-government protests.
Adel Safar, the former agriculture minister, will form the new Cabinet, according to Syria’s state-run television. He is generally regarded as a respectable figure in a government that many had criticised for corruption.
Assad sacked his government last week in answer to growing cries for reform in Syria, one of the most authoritarian regimes in the Middle East.
On Thursday, he set up committees to look into the deaths of civilians during two weeks of unrest and replacing decades-old state of emergency laws.
Safar, 58, holds a doctorate in agricultural sciences from the French polytechnic centre in France and was the dean of Damascus University’s agricultural faculty from 1997-2000.
He also heads the Arab Center for Dry and Arid Areas.