Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the General Assembly tribute to the memory of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, former President of Algeria and President of the twenty-ninth session of the General Assembly, today:
I wish to start by reiterating my sincere condolences to the Government of Algeria on the passing of His Excellency Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Mr. Bouteflika, former President of Algeria, chaired over the twenty-ninth session of the General Assembly between 1974 and 1975 while serving as Foreign Minister.
As a President of the General Assembly, he promoted the principles of justice, freedom and peace as priorities for the United Nations and played an active role in these areas during his presidency. He was particularly active in the area of decolonization and is remembered for giving a voice to the liberation movements in Africa, Asia and South America.
President Bouteflika also strongly advocated for a more inclusive United Nations in the post-World War era. He oversaw the admission of Bangladesh, Grenada and Guinea-Bissau as new Members of the United Nations. Many will remember that in 1974, he extended an invitation to the former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to address the General Assembly. He also played a central role in the Non-Aligned Movement and will be remembered for taking a firm stand against apartheid in South Africa, whose membership was suspended under his presidency.
I also remember his support to the democratic opposition in Portugal and to the liberation movements of former Portuguese colonies during the [António de Oliveira] Salazar dictatorship. It is with emotion that I remember, I was a boy listening to the only radio channel that was linked to the Portuguese democratic opposition. The radio channel was called Radio Portugal Livre, Radio Free Portugal, and it was broadcasting from Algiers thanks to the support of the Algerian Government and, in particular, the support of Minister Bouteflika.
Durant sa présidence de l'Assemblée générale, le président Bouteflika a facilité l'adoption de nombreuses résolutions, notamment sur la Définition de l'agression, sur la préparation de la Conférence mondiale du désarmement ou encore sur la création de la Commission de la fonction publique internationale.
Il a également présidé cinq séances plénières sur la question chypriote, aboutissant à la résolution 3212 qui a été entérinée par le Conseil de sécurité.
Tout au long de son mandat à la tête de l’Assemblée générale, le Président Bouteflika a encouragé le dialogue et fait preuve d'un leadership et d'un engagement fort pour les principes de la Charte des Nations Unies.
Pour tout cela, nous rendons aujourd'hui hommage au Président Bouteflika à l'Assemblée générale. Qu'il repose en paix. Merci.