Qatar readies new leadership, little policy change expected

June 24, 2013 03:15

DUBAI - Qatar appeared on Monday to be readying its population of nearly 2 million for new leadership that could see the emir and prime minister step down, a move analysts say would not herald big changes in energy, investment or foreign policies.

The Qatari-owed al Jazeera television channel said the emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, 61, would meet ruling family members and decision makers on Monday "amid reports that he intends to hand over power to his crown prince, Sheikh Tamim".The satellite channel said it had learned of the news from "reliable Qatari sources", but provided no further details.

Diplomats said this month that the emir was considering an orderly transfer of power that would probably begin with the departure of the powerful prime minister and foreign minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, 53.

Arab and Western diplomats said they understood that the motive was the emir's desire to have a smooth transition to a younger generation. Such a transition would be unusual for Gulf Arab states where leaders usually die in office.

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