HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani yesterday received at the Emiri Diwan sheikhs and Qatari citizens who came to pay allegiance to HH Sheikh Tamim on the occasion of taking the reins of power in the country.
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has said he plans to follow policies established by his father, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and the country’s last government. He gave his position during his first speech as head of state yesterday.
HH Sheikh Tamim said his country sought strong ties with “all governments”.
He said Qatar “rejects divisions in Arab societies on sectarian lines”.
“We seek to preserve relations with all governments and countries and we respect all sincere, active and effective political directions in the region but we do not support one side over the other,” said the 33-year-old Emir.
“We are not part of any regional trend against any other,” he said.
“Qatar is committed to its promises and relations, but we have a vision and we don’t wait for orders from anyone.”
From the same desk where his father announced on Tuesday his abdication after 18 years in power, HH Sheikh Tamim struck a businesslike tone in a 15-minute speech that was broad in nature and focused on domestic issues.
Qatar, Sheikh Tamim said, “is committed to its promises and relations, but we have a vision and we don’t wait for orders from anyone”.
He said that Qatar was committed to the cause of Palestine, and would work to end Israeli occupation.
The Emir said the development and training of human capital was key to the success of Qatar and that he wanted to increase the productivity of the nation, not just its wealth.
He also said that Qatar’s new-found position on the world stage should be met with humbleness.
HH the Emir asserted that HH Sheikh Hamad was able to achieve a “quiet, gradual and comprehensive revolution in all aspects in the State of Qatar, without exception, to make in a few years a real miracle in the region and to set a unique example for their people”.
HH the Emir said HH Sheikh Hamad had decided to conclude his reign while he was still at the “prime of his giving” and he wanted to match his words with deeds, especially the ones about the necessities of change and succession of generations. HH Sheikh Tamim hoped that he would be “worthy of this trust and would be able to continue the path that had been opened” by HH Sheikh Hamad “who is the real builder of the State of Qatar and the initiator of its modern renaissance”.
HH Sheikh Tamim underlined that the interest of Qatar and its people would top his priorities.
He stressed the need for the continued attention to the advancement of the national economy, development of services, construction of public facilities, development of youth and sports sector, investment for the generations to come and diversification of income sources, confirming that evolution and the high standard of living was not possible without economic growth and human development.
On foreign relations, Sheikh Tamim said Qatar respected its international and regional commitments.
He stressed that Qatar maintained ties of brotherhood and co-operation with the Arab nations, foremost of which being the member states of the Gulf Co-operation Council.
Later, a major cabinet reshuffle was announced with former Minister of State for Internal Affairs, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, being named Prime Minister and Interior Minister, while HE Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah named as Foreign Minister.
HE Mohamed Saleh al-Sada retained the post of energy minister.
The director of the influential Al Jazeera television network, HE Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani, was appointed minister of economy and trade.
Sheikh Ahmed had announced his resignation as Al Jazeera head, a post he had held for two years, in a statement just minutes before the new Cabinet was announced.
HE the Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah and the other Ministers were sworn in before HH the Emir at the Emiri Diwan.
The historic transition of power is not expected to affect the general policies of Qatar, which has solidly backed the Arab Spring uprisings, according to analysts
Michael Stephens, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute, told Al Jazeera that Sheikh Tamim had been taking a lead role in Qatar’s affairs since 2011, and that foreign policy was unlikely to change significantly.
“The processes were under way for almost two years, if you actually look at where Tamim’s executive power started to assert itself, we’ve seen since 2011 a number of Emiri decrees that Tamim himself had signed,” Stephens said.
“The cabinet reshuffles certainly indicate that the leadership is looking towards a focus on internal issues and to move the country forward as it develops rapidly,” said Stephens.
“On the foreign affairs issue he made mention of the fact that in the region he wants to make a new start and build relationships with other countries.”
Ibrahim Sharqieh, deputy director of the Brookings Doha Center, also felt that there would be no substantive change in Qatar’s foreign policy.
Among Arab leaders who arrived in Doha yesterday to congratulate the new Emir were Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifah, Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifah, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Saudi Arabia’s Second Deputy Premier Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz and Jordan’s King Abdullah.
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah came to Doha on Tuesday to congratulate HH Sheikh Tamim.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, travelling in the region, too extended his greetings.
A US official accompanying Kerry on his visit yesterday to Kuwait said the top US diplomat had called Sheikh Tamim and voiced hope for further cooperation with the increasingly active nation.
“(Kerry) reaffirmed that the United States will continue to stand by Qatar as a valued partner,” the official said.
The list of Cabinet members
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani yesterday issued the Emiri Order No 4 of 2013, forming the Cabinet.
The Cabinet members are:
1) HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, Prime Minister and Interior Minister
2) HE Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid al-Mahmoud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs
3) HE Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah, Foreign Minister
4) HE Maj Gen Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah, Minister of State for Defence Affairs and Cabinet member
5) HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani, Minister of Municipality and Urban Planning
6) HE Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry
7) HE Ali Sherif al-Emadi, Minister of Finance
8) HE Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage
9) HE Abdullah bin Khalid al-Qahtani, Minister of Public Health
10) HE Dr Ghaith bin Mubarak al-Kuwari, Minister of Endowments (Awqaf) and Islamic Affairs
11) HE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, Minister of Youth and Sports
12) HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani, Minister of Economy and Trade
13) HE Dr Hassan Lahdan Saqr al-Mohannadi, Minister of Justice
14) HE Dr Issa Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi, Minister of Administrative Development
15) HE Dr Hessa Sultan al-Jaber, Minister of Communication and Information Technology
16) HE Dr Saleh Mohamed Salem al-Nabit, Minister of Development Planning and Statistics
17) HE Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi, Minister of Education and Higher Education
18) HE Abdullah Saleh Mubarak al-Khulaifi, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs
19) HE Ahmed Amer Mohamed al-Humaidi, Minister of Environment
20) HE Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, Minister of Transport
This Emiri Order goes into effect from the date of issue and is to be published in the Official Gazette.
The Father Emir
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani yesterday issued an Emiri order, stipulating that the official title of HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani will be HH the Father Emir.