Deeply saddened by the passing of former Portuguese President and Prime Minister Mário Soares, who died earlier today in Lisbon at the age of 92, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres hailed the commitment to freedom and democracy that made Mr. Soares “one of those rare political leaders of true European and global stature.”
“I wish first of all to convey to his family – in particular to his daughter, son, and grandchildren – my deepest and warmest condolences. I have spoken with his daughter Isabel and son João, to whom I conveyed my sympathy at this painful moment,” said Mr. Guterres in a statement.
The UN chief, who is himself Portuguese, said Mr. Soares has left an indelible mark on political life in Portugal, the result of his steadfast and courageous political commitment and the principles and values that he consistently pursued throughout his life. Liberty was always his foundational value, he added.
“To a great extent, we are indebted to him for the democracy, the freedom and the respect for fundamental rights that all Portuguese have been able to enjoy in recent decades, and that are today established values in our country,” noted Mr. Guterres.
Paying tribute to Mr. Soares, “who will, I am certain, remain in our memory and in the history of our country as a man of freedom, who wanted all to live in liberty, and fought for his entire life to realize that hope,” the Secretary-General added that the late leader's legacy goes far beyond Portugal.
Indeed, this is not only because Mr. Soares was responsible for Portugal's full integration into the international community, “but also because his commitment to freedom and democracy make him one of those rare political leaders of true European and global stature,” concluded Mr. Guterres.
Mário Soares, Prime Minister of Portugal from 1976 to 1978, as well as during the early 1980s, was the country's President from 1986 to 1996.