Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani will transfer power to his son: reports

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani confirmed reports Monday that he was planning to step down and transfer power to his son.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera reported that the emir met with members of the ruling family and other important Qatari citizens to announce plans to transition power to his heir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

In power since 1995, Sheikh Hamad introduced some reforms to the Gulf emirate and made it a major regional player during his rule.

Sheikh Tamim, groomed as Sheikh Hamad's heir, is the joint commander of the armed forces and the head of the Qatari Olympic committee. Born in 1980, he is the second son of the emir and his second wife.

"The emir is convinced that he should encourage the new generation. He plans to transfer power to the crown prince, Shaikh Tamim, and to carry out a ministerial reshuffle to bring a large number of young people into the cabinet," a Qatari official told Agence France-Presse anonymously.

News of the transfer of power comes as the Syrian conflict continues to fester in the region.

Qatar supplies the Syrian rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad with weapons. Officials attending a Friends of Syria conference held over the weekend in Qatar said that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are prepared to send shoulder-launched antiaircraft missiles and armor-piercing shells to be used against Assad's forces.

Qatar is also going to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Sheikh Hamad will reportedly address the country at 8 a.m. Tuesday and has declared the day a national holiday, according to CNN.