President Zuma sends condolences to Qatar

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pretoria - President Zuma has extended condolences to the people of Qatar following the passing of former Qatari Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani at the age of 84 years.

“The South African government extends its deepest condolences to the government and people of the State of Qatar in this moment of sadness and grief,” the Presidency said in a statement.

Sheikh Khalifa ruled Qatar from 1972 until 1995. He was one of the first rulers of Qatar after it gained independence from Britain in 1971.

During his time as leader, Sheikh Khalifa oversaw the laying of foundation for the transformation of modern-day Qatar into an energy-rich country.

He was seen as the founding father of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the political and economic union incorporating six states in the region, including Qatar.

During his reign, he maintained sanctions against the apartheid regime, which saw bilateral relations being established on 10 May 1994. These relations were further strengthened by the State visits of former Presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and current President Jacob Zuma. –