Portuguese honour guards secure the coffin during the funeral ceremony for the former Portuguese president Mario Soares at Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon, capital of Portugal, on Jan. 10, 2017. A solemn sitting at the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon took place before a state funeral was held on Tuesday for former Portuguese president Mario Soares. [Photo: Xinhua]
The Portuguese authorities said their last goodbyes to deceased former president Mario Soares on Wednesday at a remembrance service held here at parliament.
Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva paid tribute to Soares for his lessons on freedom and democracy.
"This is what Mario Soares taught us, and that is why we owe him so much. From the bottom of my heart, thank you," said Santos Silva.
President of the Portuguese Parliament, Eduardo Rodrigues, said: "If Portugal today is distinguished in Europe and in the world for its national cohesion, that is very much down to the contribution of Mario Saores. That feeling of loss is accompanied by eternal gratitude," he said.
He pointed to the ties that joined him to the former Socialist leader and expressed his condolences to the Soares family.
"If politics was Mario Soares' vocation, freedom was his cause," he said, adding that Soares had fought until the end to this aim.
"He made some mistakes for sure, but he always understood the democratic policies as a passionate activity, made of successes but also of defeats, based on clear choices and strong convictions."
The president and parliamentary leader of the Socialist Party, Carlos Cesar, referred to Soares as a politician who had never failed his country.
The remembrance session, he pointed out, was a "celebration of his life and his patriotic dedication to Portugal."
Wednesday marked the last day of the three-day national mourning for Soares, who died at the age of 92 at the Red Cross Hospital in Lisbon on Saturday.
During the past two days, thousands of citizens and numerous national and international figures have paid their respects to the man.
The funeral took place on Tuesday at the Prazeres Cemetery in Lisbon and was attended by hundreds of people.
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