CAIRO: President Hosni Mubarak issued a decree Wednesday, appointing Ambassador Moushira Khattab minister of state for family and population and Mohamed Nasser Al-Din as minister of water resources and irrigation, replacing Mahmoud Abou Zeid.
Soliman Awad, presidential spokesperson, said that Abou Zeid asked to be relieved from his position “for medical reasons.
However, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif told the press on Wednesday that new blood was needed in the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation to establish new projects and develop the sector in Egypt.
Khattab’s Ministry of State for Family and Population was newly established, separating population-related matters from the Ministry of Health.
According to Awad, Egypt has recently been experiencing a surge in population with issues that need to be addressed separately.
Awad further explained that population increase is an important “national issue that should be seriously tackled for Egypt to progress.
However, Nabil Abdel Fattah, political analyst at Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, told Daily News Egypt that this ministerial reshuffle will have no “significant effect.
“The government only made these changes to improve its image in the eyes of the international arena, Abdel Fattah added.
Abdel Fattah explained that there is a gap between the government’s decisions and laws and public concerns. “The government is not listening to the public’s actual demands and needs.
Regarding the change in the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, Abdel Fattah attributes it to the unstable conditions of the countries that benefit from the Nile alongside Egypt.
In 1959, Egypt and Sudan signed a deal that gives Egypt rights to 87 percent of the river’s water, leaving only 13 percent to Sudan.
Egypt is aware that other African countries are struggling to get rights to the Nile, Abdel Fattah said, “so the government changed the minister to establish new policies and strategies to cope with that.
“Water resources in the region are a very sensitive issue, Abdel Fattah said, claiming that Egypt will likely sell the Nile’s water to other countries in the region, including Israel.