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Former envoys protest plan to move US embassy to the Vatican

Catholic World News - November 20, 2013

Five former US ambassadors to the Holy See are objecting to a plan to relocate the embassy, reports John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

Allen discloses that a contract has already been awarded to house the US embassy to the Holy See on the grounds of the embassy to Italy. The embassy to the Holy See would retain separate offices and a separate entrance at the new location. The US mission to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization already has separate offices on the embassy grounds.

“It’s turning this embassy into a stepchild of the embassy to Italy,” complained James Nicholson, the US ambassador to the Vatican under President George W. Bush. Other former American envoys—Francis Rooney, Mary Ann Glendon, Raymond Flynn, and Thomas Melady—also disapproved of the plan.

The move—which has been under discussion since the Bush administration—has been explained as a measure to boost security. The transfer is currently scheduled for completion in 2015.

The current US ambassador, Ken Hackett, and his immediate predecessor, Miguel Diaz, rejected claims that the move would signal a downgrading of the US relationship with the Holy See.

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