New York, 16 October 2019
Mr. Secretary General,
First and foremost I would like to express my country’s appreciation to you, Mr. President, for taking the initiative to hold today’s tribute to the memory of His Excellency Professor Diogo Freitas do Amaral, President of the fiftieth session of the General Assembly.
It was with deep sadness that we learned of the passing of Mr. Freitas do Amaral, former Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and twice Minister of Foreign Affairs.
As it was mentioned here today Freitas do Amaral was a driving force in Portugal’s contemporary history as one of the outstanding figures of our modern democracy. In the words of H.E. the President of the Portuguese Republic, he was (and I quote) “one of the fathers of Portuguese democracy.”
Through his guidance and wisdom he marked our nation in a period of challenging political and social evolution.
His election to the presidency of the General Assembly in 1995 was not only consistent with the qualities inherent to his national statesmanship but also befitting to his international standing as a fervent believer in multilateralism.
The 50th Anniversary of the UN was viewed at the time as an opportunity to address a long awaited reform of the Organization.
He embraced that challenge with joy and determination. He went on to become the first PGA that resided fulltime in New York, for the entire duration of the session. Something that would be difficult to imagine otherwise today.
In doing so, he not only was able to ensure a continuous leadership of this drive for change, but essentially elevated the profile of the PGA and ultimately reinforced the role and authority of the General Assembly.
His plurinational staff was also instrumental in this regard. Among others, I would like to acknowledge that our current Consul General in New York (here present today) was a member of his team in 1995/96.
Finally, Mr. President, allow me a personal note, as I recall with fondness the time when Diogo Freitas do Amaral was my professor in Lisbon’s Law School. I can still vividly recall the lucidity of his teaching and the unrivaled clarity of his writings.
To conclude, I wish to convey my country’s profound recognition to Diogo Freitas do Amaral and renew, from myself and my team at the Mission of Portugal, the expression of our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
I thank you.