Vatican, Israel postpone negotiating session on new accord
March 04, 2010
Diplomatic representatives of Israel and the Holy See, who are working to finalize a juridical accord establishing the rights of the Church in the Holy Land, have agreed to postpone a major negotiating session. A joint statement indicated that the next formal session of the negotiations would be on June 15 rather than May 27. Informal discussions will continue prior to that date.
An informed source told the AsiaNews service that the joint statement was carefully worded to avoid speculation that the talks had hit a snag. The formal talks were rescheduled because of "logistical needs" of both parites, the source said.
Negotiations between Israel and the Holy See have been conducted at an excruciatingly slow pace, occasionally drawing expressions of impatience from Rome. But Vatican officials have not recently given any such indications of impatience.
Apart from the official explanation, there could be other possible explanations of the delay. Diplomats may want to defer discussions of one key issue-- the ownership and administration of sacred shrines-- in light of the current tensions between Israelis and Palestinians about the ownership of shrines that are revered by both Jews and Muslims. Or the two sides may be close to a breakthrough, and want the extra time to finalize details of an agreement that was once expected to be announced last year.