Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, right, listens to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, during a swearing-in ceremony for new cabinet ministers at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Image Credit: AP

Cairo: Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi on Tuesday swore in the first government formed since he took office earlier this month.

The 34-member government led by Prime Minister Ebrahim Mahlab comprises 21 ministers retained from the previous cabinet that Mahlab also headed.

They include ministers of defence, the interior, health, housing, supply, finance, tourism, oil, education, planning, industry, local development, electricity, aviation, sports and social solidarity.

Egypt’s Ambassador to the US Sameh Shukri has been appointed as foreign minister, replacing career diplomat Esmail Fahmy.

Other newcomers include ministers of culture, antiquities, higher education, irrigation, agriculture, culture, investment, transport, justice, international cooperation, the environment, scientific research and parliamentary affairs.

The new government also includes four women put in charge of portfolios of international planning, social solidarity, manpower and the newly created Ministry of Urban Development responsible for upgrading the nation’s mushrooming shanty towns.

The Ministry of Information has been cancelled for the first time in decades in compliance with a recently adopted constitution.

Following the swearing-in, held at 7am (8.00 UAE time) in Al Itahdiya presidential palace in eastern Cairo, Al Sissi met the cabinet members and directed them to prioritise covering the public’s needs, re-establishing security and reinvigorating economy, mainly through tourism and investment, state television reported.

Al Sissi, an ex-army general, has repeatedly pledged to stem turmoil and economic decline that have gripped Egypt for the past three years.