UN chief pays tribute to former Portuguese leader Mário Soares

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres. UN File Photo/Mark Garten.

A former Portuguese leader who helped guide his country to democracy is being remembered by the UN Secretary-General as "a man of freedom."

Mário Soares, 92, died on Saturday at a hospital in the capital, Lisbon.

Mr Soares had served as Portugal's Prime Minister following the end of dictatorship in 1974, a post he again held in the early 1980s before being appointed President from 1986 to 1996.

Dianne Penn reports.

The UN Secretary-General, who is from Portugal, said Mr Soares has left an "indelible mark" on political life in the country.

"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," he said in a statement.

Mr Guterres paid tribute to Mr Soares, describing him as "a man of freedom, who wanted all to live in liberty, and fought for his entire life to realise that hope."

The UN chief pointed out that his legacy goes far beyond Portugal.

He stated that Mr Soares was responsible for the country's full integration into the international community, and that his commitment to freedom and democracy made him "one of those rare political leaders of true European and global stature."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 57″


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