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Catholic World News

Israel, Vatican resume talks on juridical agreement

December 09, 2009

Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, is leading a diplomatic delegation to Rome for the latest round of talks on an economic-juridical agreement establishing the rights of the Church in the Holy Land. Israeli sources said that the talks “are in their final stages,” suggesting that the long-awaited agreement may be reached in the near future.

After 15 years of negotiation, the Vatican and Israel are still reportedly at odds over control of more than 100 properties claimed by the Catholic Church. Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See, Motti Levy, told a radio audience that his government was unlikely to surrender control of the Cenacle, the room in Jerusalem where the Last Supper took place. In other cases Israel is prepared to give Catholic administrators control over properties, but will not cede the right to reclaim those properties in the future.

The economic-juridical agreement was proposed as part of the 1993 agreement that led to the establishment of formal diplomatic relations, and secured Vatican recognition of the Israeli state. Officials in Rome have frequently expressed frustration with the slow progress of negotiations toward a final pact.

 
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