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11 Dec, 2008 22:23

South Ossetians in the US: will anyone listen?

A group of peace activists from South Ossetia has arrived in the U.S. capital, Washington DC, to give American politicians their accounts of the August war in the republic.

The delegation, which is to spend a week in the US, has already held meetings with Senate members and a number of human rights groups.

“It was mostly innocent civilians and within three days, the whole city [of Tskhinval] turned into ruins. For 18 years, we have been living in fear. It is horrible that in the 20th and 21st century, we have to raise our kids in terrifying circumstances and fear, without a future with no tomorrow,” said peace activist Lira Tskhovrebova.

Lira Tskhovrebova has worked for more than a decade trying to improve relations between Georgians and Ossetians in the Caucasus.
“We came to talk about our suffering, to tell our story so that we are heard, because we remain the sole victims of this aggression and we are not heard,” she said.

The members of the South Ossetian delegation hope that reaching out to US leaders will change their situation for the better.
“The US has a tremendous influence on Georgia and its president. And for us, it’s very important that the US uses its influence to convince the president of Georgia to never again apply the method of conflict resolution that he chose this time,” Lira Tskhovrebova said.

“I think the most important thing here is that they heard us out. For me, it’s the most important thing,” she added.