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(Repeating adding matter)

Written by: Staff
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On Board Air India One, Sep 12 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said he would soon have an External Affairs Minister while almost ruling out a major reshuffle of his Council of Ministers.

''Yes I've said there is a need for a full-time foreign minister and hopefully when I go back there should be a foreign minister in place. I'll be back on the 18th and I think soon thereafter,'' he told reporters accompanying him on his visit to Brazil and Cuba.

Asked if a Cabinet reshuffle was on the cards, he told the questioner: ''You asked a question about the foreign office. As of now I am thinking of only having a foreign minister.'' The Prime Minister has been looking after the External Affairs portfolio ever since Mr K Natwar Singh resigned in November last year after he was named as one of the beneficiaries in the Iraqi Oil-for- Food programme.

For the past several months, several names have been doing rounds for the coveted portfolio. Those said to be in contention include: Mr Karan Singh, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal and Maharashtra Governor S M Krishna.

UNI SA AT MSJ KN1802

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