Serbians are petitioning against a planned luxury project backed by Trump son-in-law's firm


BELGRADE, Serbia — An opposition group in Serbia launched a petition Monday against a real estate development project that would be financed by the firm of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner at the site of the former Serbian army headquarters destroyed in a NATO bombing campaign in 1999.

Earlier this month, Kushner confirmed reports that his company plans to finance the project in central Belgrade. It would feature a high-rise hotel, a luxury apartment complex, office spaces and shops.

The petition asks Serbia’s government to respect the law, which says the building can only be returned to its original function. It also calls for the Museum of Serbian History to be established there.

Construction of a hotel on the site of this building is illegal and represents the destruction of our dignity,” the Kreni-Promeni (Move-Change) opposition movement said. Its statement said 10,000 people signed the petition in less than 24 hours.

Pro-Trump government officials in Serbia have welcomed the project, but the opposition and many in the general public have spoken out against it.

For many, the site of the bombed-out army command building is a potent symbol of Serbia’s resistance against what they called NATO aggression 25 years ago.

Serbian forces fought a 1998-99 war with ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo, which was then a Serbian province. About 13,000 people, mostly ethnic Albanians, died until a 78-day, U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign pushed Serbian troops out of Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but the government in Belgrade doesn’t recognize its neighbor as a separate country.

Earlier this month, the Albanian tourism ministry acknowledged it received an investment project application from Kushner’s firm, Affinity Partners, to turn a former military base on Sazan Island in the Adriatic Sea into a resort. Prime Minister Edi Rama said Albania was proud to have attracted such interest.

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Associated Press writer Llazar Semini in Tirana, Albania, contributed to this report.



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