Associated Press Published

Qatar Military Officials Set to Visit West Virginia

C-130 Hercules airplanes at Yeager Airport in Charleston, WV. 130th Airlift Wing.

Updated on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 11:55 a.m.

West Virginia officials welcomed a military contingent from Qatar as part of a security and economic partnership Monday.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said in a statement the Qatar officials toured the West Virginia National Guard’s 130th Air Wing in Charleston.

The visit is part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. Gov. Jim Justice also will host the group at the state Capitol.

The statement says the partnership will help train Qatar security forces in preparation for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.

From Sen. Joe Manchin, after the meeting Monday: “I was so honored to finally welcome Brig Gen Yousef Al Kuwari, Col Mohamed Al Manai, Col Khalid Al Naimi, and Ms. Sarah El-Zeini to West Virginia today to discuss our new partnership and future economic opportunities for our state and Qatar. I worked with the Department of Defense and the West Virginia National Guard to secure our State Partnership Program with Qatar and this visit has been a long time in the works. I believe very strongly this partnership will blossom and lead to economic opportunities that will help diversify our economy and I look forward to working together.”

The statement says Qatar has invested $50,000 in Reconnecting McDowell. That project led by the American Federation of Teachers aim to improve opportunities in impoverished McDowell County.