Doha, Asharq Al-Awsat—Qatar’s new Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, unveiled his new cabinet a day after taking over from his father, Sheikh Hamad.
Sheikh Tamim named Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani as the new prime minister; he will also hold the role of interior minister. Khalid Al-Attiyah was announced as foreign minister, while Ali Sherif Al-Emadi became the new finance minister. The first woman in the Qatari cabinet, Hessa Sultan Al-Jaber, was named as the new minister of communication and information technology.
The new Emir of Qatar also publicly addressed the Qatari people yesterday for the first time. In his 15-minute televised speech, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani focused mainly on domestic issues and announced that Qatar is committed to its regional and international obligations.
Sheikh Tamim stressed that his country is open to all governments and states and confirmed that Qatar is a “coherent state, not a political party, and therefore we seek to keep relationships with all governments and states.”
“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,” he added.
The new Emir said that it is typical of Qatar to behave independently, stressing that the state of Qatar is “not part of any regional trend against any other.”
Sheikh Tamim added that his country “is committed to its promises and relations,” and “does not wait for orders from anyone.”
The 33-year-old Sheikh praised the Qatari youth who “have proved in recent years that they are resolute people, that they comprehend the spirit of the times and participate in it.”
“Qatar has become a state of institutions, and thus every ministry, institution and public organization should fulfill its duty within the law irrespective of who is in charge,” the Emir said.
“The state of Qatar enjoys fraternal relations with Arab countries, particularly the Gulf states with whom we would like to further develop our relations,” he added.
As for Qatar’s relations with the rest of the Arab countries, Sheikh Tamim said that his country is committed to all pan-Arab issues and pan-Arab security and respects the sovereignty, independence, and unity of all Arab countries.
Remarkably, Sheikh Tamim made no reference to the Syrian crisis, although his country has been a major supporter of the Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Al-Assad since March 2011.
The new cabinet members were sworn in before Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at the Emiri Diwan Wednesday evening, the state-run Qatar News Agency (QNA) said.
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud made a telephone call yesterday to Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
During the call, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques congratulated Sheikh Hamad on handing over power to Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, wishing them health and wellness, and for the State of Qatar and its people, progress and prosperity.
The King had earlier sent a congratulatory message to the new Qatari Emir, expressing Saudi Arabia’s desire to strengthen its relations with its GCC neighbor.
“We are confident that you will continue the efforts made by your father for the progress and prosperity of Qatar and its people,” King Abdullah said in a cable to Sheikh Tamim.