HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani received at the Emiri Diwan yesterday sheikhs, Qatari citizens and officers of the Armed Forces and the police, who came to swear allegiance to HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on the occasion of taking the reins of power in the State of Qatar.
Congratulatory messages poured in from all over the world for Qatar’s new Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, whose father, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, abdicated in his favour yesterday.
At the age of 33, Sheikh Tamim becomes the youngest ever sovereign in the Gulf Arab monarchies.
The first reaction came from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. He congratulated Sheikh Tamim, who has played a major role in improving relations between Qatar and the regional powerhouse.
“We are happy to express to you in the name of the people and Saudi Arabia’s government and in our name, our sincerest congratulations,” King Abdullah said in a statement published by SPA.
“We are confident that you will continue the journey of your father... and his efforts in serving the State of Qatar and its brotherly people as well as strengthening relations between the two nations.”
The United Arab Emirates also congratulated Sheikh Tamim, voicing hope of stronger ties, the official Wam news agency reported.
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan affirmed “the deepness of the brotherly relations between the two countries and the keenness to strengthen them to serve the people of both states,” Wam said.
Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, was the first leader to meet Sheikh Tamim in Doha to offer the new Emir his best wishes, the official Kuna agency said.
Congratulations also came from Oman’s Sultan Qaboos and Bahrain’s King Hamad.
Meanwhile, the UK government welcomed the handing of power by HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
The UK government said that it looks forward to working with HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as he assumes his new role as Emir of the State of Qatar.
Commenting on the occasion, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “I wish to thank His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani for the friendship and support that he and the people of Qatar have offered the United Kingdom under his leadership. Our relationship is stronger than ever and the British government looks forward to enhancing them further under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.”
US President Barack Obama has also extended his wishes to HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on assuming his new role as the Emir of Qatar.
The US president said in a statement released yesterday by the White House that the US looks forward to further strengthening co-operation with Qatar in the years ahead.
“I extend my best wishes to HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as he assumes his new role as the Emir of Qatar. Qatar is an important partner of the United States, and we look forward to further strengthening our co-operation in the years ahead,” he said.
He also extended his appreciation to HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani for his “friendship and leadership”.
“The United States looks forward to working with Sheikh Tamim to deepen the ties between our two countries, and to continue our close partnership on issues of mutual interest.”
French President Francois Hollande congratulated HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on assuming his new role as the Emir of Qatar.
Hollande in a statement expressed “his most sincere wishes of success” to HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and hailed the decision of HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to hand over power to Sheikh Tamim.
He said the decision to hand over power meant that responsibilities had been transmitted in Qatar “in total serenity and with the sentiment that duty has been accomplished” by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
“I have the conviction that the new authorities in Qatar will work for the development of the long-term partnership established between our two countries in all domains,” Hollande said.
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani also received congratulatory messages from Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi, King Abdullah of Jordan, Lebanon’s President Michel Suleiman, King Mohamed of Morocco, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki, Prince Charles of Wales, President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi of Yemen and his brother, President Omar Bashir of Sudan, and US Secretary of State John Kerry.