Mário Soares was “one of the rare political leaders with true European and world stature” – UN secretary-general

Page created: Monday, 9 January 2017 8:46 GMT

António Guterres  Mário Soares  UN

United Nations, 07 Jan (Lusa) – Portugal’s former president Mário Soares, who died today aged 92, was “one of the rare political leaders with true European and world stature”, to whom the Portuguese people owe democracy and freedom, said the UN Secretary-General.

“I pay tribute to Mário Soares, certain that he will stay in our memory and in the history of our country, as a free man who wanted us all to live in freedom and who fought a lifetime to make it possible”, said the António Guterres, in a statement sent to Lusa.

The former Portuguese prime minister said he received the news of the death of the former president “with deep emotion and a keen sense of loss” and has spoken with Mr. Soares’ family to send his “heartfelt condolences”.

“It is to him that we owe to a great extent democracy, freedom and respect for fundamental rights that all Portuguese have enjoyed in the last decades and which are now established values ??in our country,” said Mr. Guterres.

The United Nations Secretary-General also praised Mr. Soares for his role in Portugal’s “full integration” in the international community and said he “shaped political life in Portugal in an indelible way.”

Mário Soares, who died today in a hospital in Lisbon at the age of 92, was foreign secretary and prime minister before being elected for two mandates as Presidente of the Republic.

He was one of the most prominent political leaders that fought the fascist dictatorship that ended in 1974, playing a role in the ensuing democratic process and leading the country to join the European Union in 1986.