Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani
(pronounced "HAH-mahd bin kah-LEE-fah al THAH-nee")
"[Arab unification] will not be achieved unless an all-out Arab summit is held to discuss the best ways to overcome the state of fragmentation we suffer, and bridge the gaps between Arab countries. In such a case we can achieve Arab solidarity and consolidate joint constructive cooperation that enables us to adopt a unified stand to confront any challenges or dangers threatening our nation."
The country of Qatar is located on a peninsula extending into the Persian Gulf from the Arabian mainland. Qatar is bordered by Oman, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and across the Gulf of Bahrain from Iran. Qatar's total area is 11,437 sq km (4,416 sq mi) with a total population of 793,341, of which only 30% are Qatari citizens. Most Qataris follow the Wahabi tradition of Sunni Islam, although a large number of Shi'as can be found among the Iranian population. The official language is Arabic, with English widely spoken among the educated groups. As in other oilproducing Persian Gulf states, economic development in Qatar has resulted in the influx of large numbers of foreign workers. The non-Qatari population includes large numbers of Indians, Iranians, Pakistanis, and Palestinians. Qatar's arid climate and the absence of suitable sources of underground water has resulted in the concentration of the population in a few large ports. The capital Doha accounts for 60% of the total population. Desalination plants provide more than half of the country's water needs.
Prior to the discovery of oil in 1939, Qatar's economy was based on fishing and pearling. Since the 1950s, however, rising oil prices have turned Qatar into one of the wealthier nations in the world by transforming the economic and social structure of the country. Qatar's total hydrocarbon reserves include 3.7 billion barrels of oil and 380 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The North Field in the Gulf is believed to contain the world's largest single deposit of natural gas. Petroleum products account for more than 80% of total exports and have allowed the country to enjoy unprecedented prosperity. The per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is US $21,200, making it one of the wealthiest countries in the world. The local currency is the riyal.
Office of the Emir