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In first speech, Qatar new emir extends conciliatory hand to 'all'

"We seek to preserve relations with all governments," new Qatar emir states in his first address to the nation, while dodging the Syrian conflict

AFP , Wednesday 26 Jun 2013

Qatar's new emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said his country seeks ties with "all governments" and will not take sides, in a conciliatory speech Wednesday which steered clear of the Syrian conflict.

In his first address to the nation since assuming power, Tamim said his country "rejects divisions in Arab societies on sectarian lines," in reference to Sunni-Shia tensions convulsing the region.

"We seek to preserve relations with all governments and countries and we respect all sincere, active and effective political directions in the region but we do not support one side over the other," said the 33-year-old emir.

Qatar has long been accused of supporting Sunni Muslim groups in the region, mainly the Muslim Brotherhood who came to power in several Arab Spring countries.

Sheikh Tamim came to power after his father Sheikh Hamad abdicated in his favour on Tuesday, becoming the youngest Gulf Arab ruler.

Sheikh Hamad strongly supported rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but his son in his speech made no reference to the conflict, which has left more than 100,000 people dead and has spilled over into neighbouring states.

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