Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has reshuffled his 15-member cabinet, including key ministries of Defence, Justice and Agriculture.

Mr Zenawi, who returned on Wednesday from an Inter-Governmental Summit in Nairobi, appointed nine new ministers and presented them to Ethiopian parliament on Thursday.

He has appointed Siraj Fergesa, former Federal Affairs Minister, as the new Defence Minister. The position had remained vacant since June when former Defense Minister Kuma Demeksa became Mayor of Addis Ababa.

Information Minister Berhan Hailu now becomes Justice Minister. No replacement was announced for the ministry. The Public Organization Advisor to the Prime Minister Haile-Maraim Desalegn is the new Government Whip.

Former Minister of State for Health, Dr. Shiferaw Tekle-Mariam,was appointed Federal Affairs Minister while Tefera Deribew becomes Agriculture and Rural Development Minister. He replaces Deputy PM Addisu Legesse.

Deputy Chief of the Amhara State Administration, Demeke Mekonnen, is the new Education Minister, replacing Sintayehu Woldemickael.

The Transport and Communication Minister Junedin Sado has been moved to the Science and Technology Ministry.

Diriba Kuma is the new Transport and Communication Minister and Muferiat Kamil is the Women Affairs Minister.

Addressing the Ethiopian parliament, Mr Zenawi said poor performance was the main reason for the reshuffle.

He expressed hope that the appointees would manage to register a good result by discharging the responsibilities entrusted to them.