MeraNews Network, Geneva: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has described former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as an "exemplary statesman".

The UN Chief, during his visit to the Permanent Mission of India this week, extended his heartfelt condolences to the former Prime Minister's family. He recalled that he had met Vajpayee during the first India-EU summit. The UN chief added that he would always be remembered as an "exemplary statesman and leader who worked selflessly for peace and development in India and the world".

The ambassadors and delegates of several countries, including Peru, Israel, Nigeria, Palestine, Switzerland, Pakistan and Japan, also paid a visit to record their messages in the condolence book. Atul Khare, the UN under-secretary-general for field support, also expressed his condolences.

The Consulate General of India also held a shradhanjali sabha (homage meet), where several members of the Indian-American community and officials from other nations paid tributes to Vajpayee. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of India's most charismatic leaders and inspirational orators, died on August 16th  at the age of 93 in New Delhi.