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Vatican-Israel negotiations continue with 'cordial' exchange

CWN - January 07, 2010

A negotiating session between Vatican and Israeli diplomats ended with a joint statement reporting cordial and productive talks. The negotiations are scheduled to continue with a session in Jerusalem in February and a plenary meeting in May at the Vatican.

The talks are aimed to conclude a legal agreement establishing the rights of the Church in Israel. Such an agreement was promised by the “fundamental agreement” that paved the way for Vatican recognition of Israel and diplomatic relations between the two parties. Vatican officials are anxious to ensure the rights secured by the Church over the centuries, prior to the establishment of Israel as an independent state, will remain in force.

In December, Israeli newspapers reported that a negotiating session had concluded with the threat of a stalemate in the talks. Vatican officials dismissed that report, suggesting that it may have reflected the viewpoint of Israeli hardliners who oppose any concessions to the Church.

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