May 14, 2018

Manchin Welcomes Qatar Officials to West Virginia

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) welcomed Qatar Defense Attaché Brigadier General Yousef Al Kuwari, Air Force Attaché Colonel Mohamed Al Manai, Army Attaché Colonel Khalid Al Naimi, and Government Affairs Advisor for Defense Attaché Ms. Sarah El-Zeini to West Virginia today. The Qatar officials toured the West Virginia National Guard’s 130th Air Wing and met with state officials to discuss development and planning.

“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,” Senator Manchin said.

“It was a great honor to be in the company of Senator Manchin, Governor Justice and Congressmen from the state of West Virginia. I found the statesmen, military personnel, and people of West Virginia to be most warm and welcoming, a hospitality similar to my country. Although our terrains are different, our principles are the same and we are pleased to have West Virginia as our partner. We held great bilateral meetings which were joined by statesmen, CENTCOM officials, and the National Guard. Together, creatively and cooperatively, we can make the most of the West Virginia National Guard State Partnership Program with Qatar. We look forward to welcoming the senior officials to Qatar this year,” said General Yousef Al Kuwari. 

In April, Senator Manchin announced that the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) and Qatari military forces were approved to begin a State Partnership Program, beating out multiple other states for this coveted agreement. This program will enable joint exchanges of forces to conduct training and partnership exercises, increasing the military capabilities of the two nations. Qatar is preparing to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.  This is a promising opportunity for WVNG forces to partner with Qatar to aid in the development of critical infrastructure and train security forces in preparation for the event.

Beyond military cooperation, West Virginia and Qatar stand to benefit from the SPP both economically and culturally. Both are rich in natural resources and have unique cultures that will foster an enduring relationship that demonstrates the power of diplomacy. Qatar has already contributed to the West Virginia economy by investing $50,000 in Reconnecting McDowell, a comprehensive, long-term initiative to revitalize McDowell County. The SPP will deepen and strengthen the ongoing partnership between West Virginia and Qatar.