Emir of Qatar to meet ruling family amid reports of plans to step down

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Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani will with the ruling family “and the people of solution and contract,” Al Jazeera television’s Arabic website reported on Monday amid reports that he is planning to hand over power to his son Tamim. 

The Qatari-owned television network quoted “reliable Qatari sources,” about the Sheikh Hamad’s plans, but it gave no further details.

Diplomats said earlier this month that an orderly transfer of power, which would also include the powerful prime minister stepping down, was being considered, according to Reuters.

Quoting Qatari diplomats AFP had reported on June 15 that Sheikh Hamad was preparing to hand over power in the gas-rich Gulf state to his son.

A cabinet reshuffle is also expected in which powerful Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani may lose his post, or at least the foreign affairs portfolio, the sources told AFP.

The emir “is convinced that he should encourage the new generation” of politicians and rulers, the source added.

“He hopes to transfer power to the crown prince, Sheikh Tamim (bin Hamad al-Thani), and to carry out a ministerial reshuffle” and appoint younger ministers, AFP reported, quoting an official.

Sheikh Tamim was born in 1980 and is the second son of the emir and his second wife Sheikha Mozah.

A French diplomatic source told AFP that the emir could “take a step back, that is, not completely retire but take on a more honorary position, in such a way that his son could take on more responsibilities and become the man in charge.”

“This change could come quite quickly, after (French) President Francois Hollande’s visit” to Qatar on June 22, the source added.

Sheikh Hamad has earned the tiny Gulf state a major international profile, playing a key role in the revolutions that ousted former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi and Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak.

He has also offered strong backing of the Syrian opposition.

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