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Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius on Lithuania, Belarus, NATO & Trump

Protests and violence continue to escalate in Belarus as pro-democracy demonstrators demand the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko, whose landslide reelection in August is widely viewed as illegitimate. GZERO Media spoke to Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius of neighboring Lithuania, a nation that has become a staunch ally of the opposition movement in Belarus and is providing refuge to Lukashenko's main challenger Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.


In a conversation with GZERO's Tony Maciulis, Linkevičius offered support for the protesters, saying, "They're still in the streets, still protesting, although they are really intimidated, beaten, raped, tortured, put into the custody. They're still so courageous and trying to fight for their right to choose, basically, and asking just to have normal elections and to elect their leadership."

Of Tikhanovskaya, Linkevičius explained the reasons why his nation offered the opposition leader a safe haven and what life has been like for her since fleeing Belarus, which he describes as "a difficult situation."

Linkevičius also called on the international community to take the ongoing unrest in Belarus seriously and to become more actively involved. "Sanctions is the least we can do," he said. "We also should support civil society, free media, those victims of repressions, to find funds to support them." Multilateral organizations "should do more," he said, "But, as usual, sometimes we are not capable to react on time and that's a pity."

Later in the conversation, Linkevičius discussed COVID-19 response in his nation and across Europe as the number of new cases continues to climb. The Foreign Minister also offered well wishes to President Trump who is in treatment for COVID-19 infection, and said Trump's diagnosis was a reminder of how serious and global the virus is.

In reflecting on the years of US diplomacy since President Trump took office, Linkevičius said it is "not the best time for multilateralism," climate action or free trade, but he praised the current US administration for "visible and tangible participation in the security of our region."

Microsoft announced earlier this year the launch of a new United Nations representation office to deepen their support for the UN's mission and work. Many of the big challenges facing society can only be addressed effectively through multi-stakeholder action. Whether it's public health, environmental sustainability, cybersecurity, terrorist content online or the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, Microsoft has found that progress requires two elements - international cooperation among governments and inclusive initiatives that bring in civil society and private sector organizations to collaborate on solutions. Microsoft provided an update on their mission, activities for the 75th UN General Assembly, and the team. To read the announcement from Microsoft's Vice President of UN Affairs, John Frank, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

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In electing Donald Trump, a political outsider, to the top job, American voters essentially gave him a mandate to follow through on these promises. So, has he?

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"A continuing rape of our country."

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So, the US presidential election is now just days away, and today's selection is focusing on a specific aspect of foreign policy that will certainly change depending on who wins in the presidential contest—namely America's approach to Iran.

You've heard me talk before about the many similarities between Trump and Biden on some international policies, like on China or on Afghanistan. But Iran is definitely not one of those. Trump hated the JCPOA, the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, put together under the Obama administration, and he walked away from it unilaterally. Joe Biden, if he were to become president, would try to bring it back.

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On October 7, US bombs began falling on Taliban forces. NATO allies quickly pledged support for the US, and US boots hit the ground in Afghanistan two weeks later.

Thus began a war, now the longest in US history, that has killed more than 3,500 coalition soldiers and 110,000 Afghans. It has cost the American taxpayer nearly $3 trillion. US allies have also made human and material sacrifices.

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