Tony Blair statue in Kosovo mocked for resembling Jason Donovan

One social media user asked why a statue of Jason Donovan had been put up in Kosovo  when they saw the sculpture of Tony Blair
One social media user asked why a statue of Jason Donovan had been put up in Kosovo when they saw the sculpture of Tony Blair

A statue unveiled in Kosovo to honour Tony Blair’s role in liberating the country has been mocked for resembling former Neighbours heart-throb Jason Donovan.

The statue was erected this week in the city of Ferizaj in southern Kosovo as the Balkan nation commemorated the 25th anniversary of its breaking away from neighbouring Serbia in 1999.

Serbia’s crackdown on Kosovan separatists was halted after a 78-day bombing campaign by Nato, with Mr Blair and Bill Clinton, then US president, playing key roles in standing up to Serbian aggression.

Such is the adoration of the former Labour leader that some Kosovan parents name their children “Tonibler” – an Albanian contraction of Tony Blair.

The statue's sculptor said that of foreigners, Tony Blair is the most welcome person among us
The statue's sculptor said that of foreigners, Tony Blair is the most welcome person among us

Since the statue was revealed, people have taken to social media to mock its likeness to the Australian soap star and singer.

“Why have they put a statue of Jason Donovan up in Kosovo?” one asked.

Another commented online: “Looked at why Jason Donovan was trending, now can’t unsee how much he looks like Tony Blair.”

The statue has pride of place in the centre of Ferizaj near Martyrs’ Square.

The sculptor of the statue, Agon Qosa, said that “among foreigners, Tony Blair is the most welcome person among us. With this joy, we decided to erect this statue.”

Mr Blair visited Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, earlier this week, two days before the statue was unveiled.

The former prime minister said it was an honour to be back in Kosovo. “On this day, 25 years ago, agreement was reached for a complete and non-conditional withdrawal from the territory of Kosovo of the forces of invasion.

“Kosovo was finally free, its people able to live again, to hope again, to believe again in a future free of oppression and injustice,” he told Kosovo’s parliament.

Vjosa Osmani, the country’s president, paid tribute to Mr Blair, describing him as “a great friend of Kosovo.”

‘Champion of our freedom’

She posted a video of Mr Blair shaking hands with Nato troops in Kosovo and a clip of him saying: “We are here for a very clear purpose and that purpose is to be part of an operation that is to prevent the appalling acts of evil brutality that have been carried out by defenceless people in Kosovo.”

Ms Osmani wrote on social media: “His legacy echoes through time and generations. Sir Tony Blair, a champion of our freedom!”

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but the Serbs still do not recognise that status and relations remain deeply strained.