VLADIKAVKAZ, February 3. /ITAR-TASS/. US citizen Joe Mestas has submitted a petition on the official White House website, demanding the recognition of South Ossetia’s independence. Mestas is married to a South Ossetian woman, with whom he has a 10-year-old child. In order for the US administration to consider the petition, the document has to collect more than 100,000 signatures until March 3.
Mestas, who currently resides in Saint-Petersburg, Florida, told Itar-Tass that in the petition he reminded people that on the opening night of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive on South Ossetia. “Georgian forces employed the artillery, mortars and howitzers in the attack. They aimed at houses, schools and hospitals, killing women, children and elderly people. The US supported the territorial integrity of Georgia, but they should not have done this,” says the petition.
Mestas also noted that before the collapse of the Soviet Union, South Ossetia was an autonomous region in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. “A military conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia ignited in January 1991, when Georgia invaded South Ossetia in order to stop the movement for independence there,” added Mestas.
On August 8, 2008, Mestas, along with his family, witnessed the attack on Tskhinvali and survived the 5-Day War. After that he told Itar-Tass he is “ready to tell the whole world that Georgia started the war, and South Ossetians are peaceful people who do not seek war.”
South Ossetians have voted in favor of independence on the referendums of 1992 and 2006. In August 2008, after the 5-Day War, South Ossetia made a request that Russia recognizes the territory’s independence. On August 26, 2008, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev signed the Decree of recognition of South Ossetia as an independent state. Georgia responded to this by severing all diplomatic ties with Moscow. The US and the European Union have spoken out in favor of supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.