Doha: The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, is expected to meet members of the royal family with Qatari officials and diplomats today, for discussing about the transfer of power to his son, Sheikh Tamim bin Khalifa Al Thani.

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 the joint commander of the armed forces and head of the country's Olympic committee.
    
"The emir is convinced that he should encourage the new generation. He plans to transfer power to the crown prince, Sheikh Tamim, and to carry out a ministerial reshuffle to bring a large number of young people into the cabinet," a Qatari official said on condition of anonymity.

"The emir could take a step back, not retire completely but play a more honorary role, so that his son can better assume the responsibilities and become the man in charge," a French diplomat said.

(Agencies)

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