* Most ministers are holdovers from earlier cabinet
* Cabinet could help Sisi bring reforms, attract funds
By Stephen Kalin
CAIRO, June 16 Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim
Mehleb appointed veteran banker Ashraf Salman as investment
minister on Monday in a limited cabinet reshuffle that also
replaced the foreign and international cooperation ministers.
Former ambassador to Washington Sameh Shukri was appointed
foreign minister while Naglaa El Ahwany, a university professor
who last served as the head of Mehleb's office, was named
minister for international cooperation, the state-run news
website al-Ahram said.
Newly elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi re-appointed
Mehleb as prime minister last week and asked him to form a
The full cabinet list showed most other ministers are
holdovers from the previous 31-member cabinet, including the
ministers for finance, defence, interior, planning, oil,
electricity, supplies and communications.
Keeping the cabinet largely intact could allow Sisi to
implement quickly the types of reform urged by the United Arab
Emirates, which along with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait gave
billions of dollars in aid after Islamist President Mohamed
Mursi was ousted by the army last July.
The decision to appoint a separate investment minister
reverses a decision this year to merge the ministry with that of
industry and trade, a move that could help Sisi attract foreign
funds back to stimulate an economy racked by years of political
Salman, a U.S.-educated investment banker is the co-founder
and co-CEO of Cairo Financial Holding, an Egyptian asset
management, corporate finance and investment banking firm.
He previously held a senior position at Arab African
International Bank-Egypt and has worked on privatisation
policies, according to the Cairo Financial Holding website.
Karim Helal, chairman of Abu Dhabi International Bank's
Egypt division, called Salman's appointment "very appropriate".
"He knows how to talk to investors, knows what their
problems are and what they need," he said, adding that Salman
was the first person from the investment banking field ever
appointed to the post.
The new cabinet includes Mahfouz Sabr as minister of
justice, a dossier with scores of cases against supporters of
Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood.
More than a thousand alleged Brotherhood supporters were
sentenced to death this year for charges related to violence
that followed the army's ousting of Mursi following mass
protests against his rule.
Three Al Jazeera journalists have been on trial for months
in a separate case on charges of supporting the Brotherhood,
which the state designated a "terrorist organisation".
Mehleb appointed Laila Iskander, formerly a minister for
environmental affairs, to the new position of minister for
slums. Millions of poor Egyptians in Cairo and other cities live
in informal settlements that lack basic infrastructure.
BREAD SUBSIDIES CORRUPTION
Supplies Minister Khaled Hanafi, appointed in the last
cabinet reshuffle, is staying in his post. Hanafi has been
outspoken about the changes needed to a corrupt and wasteful
bread subsidies system that is largely responsible for the
government's 32 billion Egyptian pound food imports bill.
He has pledged to complete nationwide rollout of a smart
card system for monitoring consumption of subsidised bread in
the next few months.
Sisi reappointed Mehleb as premier last week, but the
formation of the new government was delayed on Sunday after
candidates turned down offers for the ministries of investment,
justice, culture and information.
Since the 2011 overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, several
people have rejected cabinet jobs for fear of opening themselves
to potential legal complaints after a number of former ministers
were charged with corruption or taking decisions which were not
in the national interest.
Cabinet spokesman Hossam El-Kawish said the ministers would
be sworn in on Tuesday.
(Addiitonal reporting by Mostafa Hashem, Yasmine Saleh, Maggie
Fick and Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Tom Heneghan)