Qatar emir reshuffles cabinet, names new foreign minister

Qatar's emir names sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani as new foreign minister in cabinet reshuffle

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, pictured during a meeting with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of White House in Washington, DC on February 24, 2015.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani issued a decree on Wednesday replacing the foreign minister and merging some portfolios, state news agency reported in an attempt to consolidate his power and cut costs after the sharp decline in oil prices.

The emir named the new Foreign Minister as Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani. The outgoing Foreign Minister Khalid al Attiyah will become state minister for defence affairs.

The outgoing minister of state for defence affairs Hamad bin Ali al Attiyah was appointed as an adviser to the emir with the rank of a prime minister, the agency said.

The emir, who came into power in 2013, after his father resigned also serves as defence minister.

The public health minister was also replaced. The ministers of energy and finance were unchanged.

The decree also merged several ministries, such as communication and transport and culture, youth and sports, indicating the possibility of many job cuts.

Qatar, the world's biggest liquefied natural gas exporter, is one of the Gulf's richest countries, although the value of its energy exports almost halved last year.

According to a Western diplomat in Doha, cost-cutting was the only reason for the cabinet reshuffle after the sharp drop in oil prices.

"But this is also about Sheikh Tamim's slow consolidation of power after 2-1/2 years in the job," the diplomat said.

"He's still pushing out the old timers loyal to the former emir who were not necessarily that effective but couldn't be sacked all in one go," the diplomat added.

TRTWorld, Reuters