Qatar emir assertive over foreign affairs but no mention of new PM during speech

Published June 26th, 2013 - 04:02 GMT
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the new emir of Qatar. (AFP file)
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the new emir of Qatar. (AFP file)

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar's new emir, said on Wednesday that the Gulf state will not "take direction" in its foreign affairs. 

Making the remarks during a televised speech to the nation marking his enthronement, Al Thani said he supported the sovereignty and integrity of all Arab lands and would seek to diversity Qatar's gas-rich economy domestically, Reuters reported. 

During his first speech as head of state, Sheikh Tamim said he would follow in his father's footsteps regarding Qatar's foreign policy. His father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, is widely regarded as an "architect of an assertive foreign policy", according to Reuters. 

"We don't take direction and this independent behavior is one of the established facts," Sheikh Tamim, 33, said his speech, which was televised on state television. 

The emir added that Qatar is committed to helping the Palestinians with their struggle with Israel and its occupation policies, Reuters reported. He also added that Qatar is sympathetic to other Arab causes, reiterating that the Gulf country is dedicated to preserving and respecting the sovereignty, independence and integrity of all Arab states. 

Notably missing from his address was any mention of the Syrian crisis, despite Qatar hosting the Friends of Syria conference last weekend and being outspokenly committed to arming the rebels fighting forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. 

Qatar, an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, should not be tied to any specific political movement or trend, the emir added, noting that the state respects all religious sects, Reuters reported.

"We are a coherent state, not a political party, and therefore we seek to keep relationships with all governments and states," he said.

"We respect all the influential and active political trends in the region, but we are not affiliated with one trend against the other. We are Muslims and Arabs who respect diversity of sects and respect all religions in our countries and outside of them," the new leader said, according to Reuters.

Also absent from his speech was any mention of the cabinet reshuffle that is slated to see the prime minister be replaced by the minister for internal affairs.

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