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10 Feb 2013 00:33

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has reshuffled his Cabinet, appointing seven new ministers, as violence continues around the capital and in the province of Homs.

State TV said on Saturday that Assad replaced the heads of the oil, finance, social affairs, labour, housing, public works and agriculture ministries, in a move that appeared aimed at trying to shore up the economy.

Key security ministries such as defence and interior, which are on the front lines of the conflict, remained unchanged.

And in what appeared to be its first official response, the Syrian government has extended an invitation to the opposition for dialogue.

Read more: Syrian cabinet reshuffled amid more violence – Middle East – Al Jazeera English.