Syrian premier resigns

SYRIAN President Bashar al-Assad has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa Miro and asked parliament speaker Mohammed Naji Otri to form a new government, the state news agency SANA said yesterday.

Mr Assad asked the outgoing government, formed in December 2001, to “quickly complete the outstanding tasks on its agenda until a new government is formed”.

The resignation of the government headed by Mr Miro had been expected since Mr Assad’s announcement in early August that a new government would soon be formed to accelerate political and economic reforms.

The announcement was made amid mounting demands by the media and from members of parliament to speed up reforms, especially of the administration and of the centralised socialist-leaning economy, in the light of the changed situation in the Mideast since the US invasion of neighbouring Iraq.

Mr Miro, 62, had been also been criticised for not outlining specific measures to counter corruption and reform the administration.

Mr Otri is close to Mr Assad and one of the politicians the young president wants at the forefront of efforts to bring change.

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