June 6, 2012 (TSR) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ordered the presidential decree No. 194 to former agriculture minister Dr. Riyad Farid Hijab to form a new government for the conflict-stricken country, state-run SANA news agency reported Wednesday.

The formation of a new government for the unrest-torn country came after the recent parliamentary election, the first under the country’s new constitution that allows a multi-party law and ends the monopoly of power by the ruling al-Baath party.

Hijab, the 46-year-old new prime minister who was born in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour and holds a doctorate in agricultural engineering, replaced Adel Safar, who was appointed as premier in April 2011 after Assad sacked his cabinet in one of a series of concessions in the face of anti-government protests.

Hijab, a member of the ruling Baath Party, held the position of secretary general of the party’s branch in Deir al-Zour and before that served as the governor of the coastal city of Latakia.

The Assad administration’s gestures have done little to stem a 15-month-old deadly violence as the crisis is sliding hastily toward the swamp of internal conflict that has shown no sign of abating despite all-out diplomatic efforts.

Assad appointed former Agriculture Minister Riad Farid Hijab to the position on Wednesday.

Hijab, holder of a PhD in Agricultural Engineering, served as secretary of Deir Azzour Branch of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party for the period of 2004-2008, and as a Governor of Quneitra Governorate from 2008 till Feb. 2011 and later on as Lattakia Governor. He is married with 4 children.

The development is regarded as part of Assad’s reform plan, which took effect following the endorsement of the country’s new constitution in February 2011.

The constitution will allow political pluralism and will also enact a presidential limit of two seven-year terms.

People’s Assembly Discussed MPs Role in National Dialogue

The People’s Assembly also convened on Wednesday for its 4th regular session of the 1st legislative term, under the chairmanship of Speaker of the People’s Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Lahham.

The session underlined the role of the People’s Assembly members in national dialogue and highlighting the dimensions of the conspiracy targeting Syria.

Al-Lahham stressed the significance of establishing centers for the MPs in their own governorates to help them lay mechanisms for dialogue and confronting the conspiracy.

The MPs discussed the dimensions of the conspiracy against Syria and the incessant anti-Syria media instigation, as well as the terrorist acts committed by armed terrorist groups serving foreign agendas and the US-Israeli scheme.

The MPs also emphasized the importance of the national reconciliation and launching national dialogue, considering that dialogue is possible only with those who are opposed to foreign meddling.

They underscored the importance of efforts to restore security and stability to the homeland and the firm tackling of the armed terrorist groups, calling for holding a national dialogue conference to lay out an exit strategy from the crisis.

They called for according greater care to the economic issues and meeting the needs of citizens and holding the corrupt to account, as well as extending a helping hand to the locals who were forced by the terrorists to leave their homes.

The MPs considered the safety of citizens a top priority that necessitates synchronizing efforts each from his own position to prepare the atmosphere for national dialogue.

The People’s Assembly members underlined the importance of forging a clear vision for the coming phase, calling for organizing specialized workshops and engaging citizens in them to catalyze the process of construction.

They also condemned the AL decision to interfere with Arabsat and Nilesat to stop the broadcast of the Syrian state and private satellite channels, considering it part of a media war waged on Syria.

Syria has been the scene of violence since March 2011. Many people, including security forces, have lost their lives in the unrest.

The West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of the killings. But Damascus blames ”outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, stating that it is being orchestrated from abroad.

On Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that China and Russia are in “close communication and coordination” regarding the Syrian issue and that both countries are against foreign intervention in the Arab state.


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