James Berisha

James Berisha

Kosovo Albanian pilot, James Berisha, arrived in Zimbabwe last week in a fly-in campaign around the world to persuade governments to recognise Kosovo. Flying under the banner “Flying for Kosovo”, Berisha has visited 80 countries so far, most of them in the Americas and Europe, in a mission that has seen him two years away from home.

Kosovo declared independence in February 2008 and since then 75 out of the 192 United Nations member states have recognised Kosovo as a country. These include 22 of the 27 European Union (EU) countries and the Unites States, Japan and Canada, among others. In Africa, only 12 have recognised Kosovo as a country — Zimbabwe hasn’t.

Berisha said the people of Kosovo would “also like Zimbabwe to recognise Kosovo as a nation so they can establish diplomatic ties, establish trade and investment links and tourism, among other things”.

Before coming to Zimbabwe, he said he had been in South Africa the previous week where he met South African Foreign Affairs Ministry officials.

“I hope they will recognise our independence soon,” he said.

In Zimbabwe he met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, Claudius Nhema.

“He (Nhema) said that Zimbabwe would be looking at it (consideration for recognition). He said we should wait for a recommendation from the Zimbabwean UN representative who should bring it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after which it would be taken to Parliament (for ratification),” said Berisha.

Berisha has told the press previously that: “I will thank those countries who have already recognised us, I will tell the others how important it is for Kosovo to be recognised worldwide, and I will try to end racial stereotypes that belittle our people.”

The Kosovo-born Berisha (37), lives in Texas, US, where he is staying and working. He began his fly-in campaign in March 2009 in his single-engine four-seater Cessna 172 plane.

He has since left for Malawi, his next port of call, and will be going back to Europe. He said he will travel to Asia as well.