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Qatari Emir Steps Down, Hands Power To Son

The emir of Qatar has stepped down.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said he was handing power over to his 33-year-old son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

In a speech broadcast on Qatari state television on June 25, the 61-year-old emir said it was time for a new generation to take over.

He made no direct mention of Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who serves as the prime minister and foreign minister and had been widely expected to also step down.

Sheikh Tamim was educated in Britain and is deputy commander of the country's armed forces.

Sheikh Hamad came to power in a 1995 coup in which he overthrew his father, Sheikh Khalifa.

Qatar has a population of two million and is the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP