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Vatican-Israeli diplomatic pact nearly concluded, outgoing Israeli ambassador says

CWN - July 11, 2012

The Holy See and Israel are “very close” to agreement on a long-awaited pact defining the economic and juridical rights of the Church in the Holy Land, according to the Israeli ambassador to the Holy See.

Mordechay Lewy, who is ending his term as the Israeli ambassador, told reporters that after years of desultory negotiations, “progress really took place only recently.” After the latest round of talks, in June, the two sides had reached agreement on all major issues, he said. The next talks are scheduled to take place in December, but Lewy notes, “that doesn’t mean the signing cannot be done even before then.”

The Vatican-Israeli accord was promised as part of the “Fundamental Agreement” that was announced in 1993, opening the way for Vatican recognition of Israel. Negotiations proceeded fitfully for several years, and had effectively stopped before US intervention helped prompt renewed talks beginning in 2004. Israeli government spokesmen have consistently said that an agreement is close, while Vatican officials have often complained about the pace of the negotiations.

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