DOHA – The emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, is expected to meet members of the royal family Monday, with Qatari officials and diplomats saying a transfer of power to his son, Crown Prince Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is imminent.
The sheik “will meet Monday with the royal family and advisors,” the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television news channel reported Sunday.
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. Sheik 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.