The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, is to stand down and hand over power to his son, according to multiple reports. News agencies said the emir would address the nation on Tuesday.
Al Jazeera television, which is based in the Qatari capital Doha, reported on Monday that the emir (pictured above) had informed the members of his ruling family of his decision.
It said he "has ended his meeting with the royal family and prominent members of Qatari society.
He had informed those at the meeting of his decision to hand over power to the crown prince," Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim, Al Jazeera said.
Qatar's state news agency QNA on Monday cited a court statement, saying that the emir would address the nation at 8 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) on Tuesday.
Sheikh Tamim, 33, became heir apparent in 2003.
The tiny Gulf Arab state is the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, and has played a significant role in the Arab Spring protests.
It supported the rebels who ousted former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and continues to back the ongoing uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Qatar also agreed to host a a delegation of the Afghan Taliban, which opened an office in Doha last week. This comes ahead of expected talks with the United States on how to end the conflict in Afghanistan, which has gone on for 12 years.
jr/ipj (Reuters, AFP)