The first diplomatic consulate in Iowa is officially open. The office in Des Moines seals a long-standing friendship between the state and the Republic of Kosovo.
Band members from the Iowa National Guard and the Kosovo Security Force joined to play the national anthems of Kosovo and the U.S.
The deputy prime minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci says his country decided to open its second U.S. consulate in Des Moines because of what Iowa did for his nation after the war in the Balkans.
“This is the time when the special friendship between Iowa and Kosovo started to take shape, even before Kosovo became a state," he says. "Hundreds of members of the Iowa National Guard became part of the peacekeeping mission since 2003.”
Iowa has since entered into a Sister State relationship with Kosovo.
Thaci notes the amount of international media attention Iowa is currently receiving, which he says is fleeting.
“In a few days the attention will move to other states and the media will leave," he says. "Kosovo is here to stay forever.”
The consulate office will be in the middle of Des Moines’ Court Avenue entertainment district downtown where the Kosovo flag will fly.