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Qatari emir to transfer power to his son

Qatar has evolved into an important player on the regional and international scenes on Shaikh Hamad's watch [AFP]The Qatari emir has confirmed to members of the ruling family that he will step down and transfer power to his heir apparent.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani met with royals, along with other prominent members of Qatari society, on Monday, and announced plans for a transition to his son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Sheikh Hamad has been in power since 1995, during which Qatar has evolved into an important player on the regional and international political scenes.

Abdullah al Athbah, the managing editor of Al Arab newspaper, said he did not expect to see a change in policy after the succession.

"The heir apparent has been very close to his father and Sheikh Jassim," he said, referring to the prime minister. "I don't think there will be a big change in policy, foreign or domestic."

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, 33, is the second son of the emir and Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser.

Sheikh Hamad is due to address Qatari citizens on Tuesday morning.


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