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Iowa To Have "Sister State" Relationship With Kosovo

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Gov. Terry Branstad says Iowa is establishing a sister-state relationship with Kosovo and that he will visit the nation during a trip to Europe in July.

Branstad made the announcements Thursday, coinciding with a visit to the Iowa Capitol by Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.

Branstad says Iowa and Kosovo have developed a unique partnership due to more than 700 Iowa National Guard soldiers who have served there on peacekeeping missions since 2003.

The agreement will mark Iowa's ninth sister-state relationship.

Branstad says he'll travel in early July to Kosovo as well as Italy, Germany and Switzerland.

The European trip will cost about $17,000 for Branstad and his wife, Chris. Those costs will be covered by Iowa Economic Development Authority Foundation funds, not state funding.

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