• Qatar’s Emir to transfer power to son

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    DOHA: The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, is expected to meet members of the royal family on Monday, with Qatari officials and diplomats saying a transfer of power to his son, Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is imminent.

    The sheikh “will meet with the royal family and advisors,” the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television news channel reported on Sunday, stressing that the meeting would take place in the context of a possible succession.

    Diplomats and Qatari officials agree that the emir is preparing to hand over control of the oil-rich emirate, which plays a key role in the Arab world.

    The 61-year-old emir came to power in 1995 in a palace coup against his father. He has since helped build Qatar into a strong voice in the Gulf and on the world stage.

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

    The crown prince is joint commander of the armed forces and head of the country’s Olympic committee.

    Powerful Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani could lose his job, or at least the foreign affairs portfolio, which he also holds, sources said.

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