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Qatar begins change of power; emir to step down

June 24, 2013 at 3:34 PM

DOHA, Qatar, June 24 (UPI) -- The emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, met with members of his ruling family in Doha Monday in anticipation of a transfer of power.

He will address the country Tuesday, which has been declared a national holiday, the official Qatar News Agency reported.

The emir has confirmed to family members he will step down in favor of his second son, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, 33, the broadcaster al-Jazeera, based in Qatar, said.

Hamad, 61, has been in power since 1995, and Qatar has grown into an important player in regional and international politics during his reign, al-Jazeera said.

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