Qatar officials visit W.Va. after security partnership – WSAZ-TV

By WSAZ News Staff, The Associated Press, WV MetroNews | 
Posted: Mon 12:32 PM, May 14, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ, WV MetroNews & AP) — Governor Jim Justice, along with the West Virginia National Guard welcomed a military contingent from Qatar Monday at the State Capitol as part of a security and economic partnership.
The visit is part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program.
The national defense department, along with the Department of State and the National Guard Bureau, approved the voluntary partnership, which allows nations to conduct joint operations and training with the National Guard. The West Virginia National Guard has been partners with Peru since 1996.
The partnership was designed to build cultural understanding, military relationships and partnerships. The primary focus is on preserving peace and stability in the world.
The state believes there are unique opportunities with similarities to Qatar. For example, West Virginia is once again hosting the World Boy Scouts Jamboree next year and in 2022 Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin says in a statement the partnership will help train Qatar security forces in preparation for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.State leaders say this is an opportunity for West Virginia to be a national leader because the state is home to strategic airlift operations and special forces.

Qatar officials will also tour the West Virginia National Guard’s 130th Air Wing in Charleston.
The statement says Qatar has invested $50,000 in Reconnecting McDowell. That project, led by the American Federation of Teachers, aims to improve opportunities in impoverished McDowell County.
Monday’s meeting marks the first between the newly established State Partnership Program partners since the announcement of the West Virginia National Guard’s selection to be linked with Qatar in April.

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