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New Turkmen President Finalizes Government

Berdymukhammedov after his inauguration ceremony on February 14 (ITAR-TASS) February 25, 2007 -- New Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has finished forming his government, awarding all posts on a six-month trial basis.

State media say Berdymukhammedov kept the prime minister's post for himself, following the example of his predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in December.

Speaking to the new cabinet of ministers, Berdymukhammedov said their most important task was to defend the country's "hard-earned, sacred independence."

Three deputy prime ministers have been appointed, with the post of first deputy prime minister and foreign minister going to Rashid Meredov, who was the foreign minister under Niyazov since 1991.

Also made deputy prime ministers are Tachberdy Tagiev, a former oil and gas minister and oil refinery chief, as well as Gurbannazar Ashirov, a former head of the waterways administration.

Berdymukhammedov has retained the previous ministers of defense, national security, and interior affairs, Agageldy Mammetgeldyev, Geldymukhammed Ashirmukhammedov, and Akmammed Rakhmanov, respectively.

Berdymukhammedov was elected president of Turkmenistan earlier this month.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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