Holy See Delegate Upbeat About Talks With Israel

JERUSALEM, SEPT. 10, 2004 (Zenit.org).- An ad hoc Vatican delegation concluded four days of talks with the Israeli Foreign Ministry over the fulfillment of the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and Israel.

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It was the first meeting of substance in a year between the two delegations. Neither the Vatican team, led by apostolic delegate Archbishop Pietro Sambi, nor the Israeli Foreign Ministry released an official statement.

AsiaNews, however, asked Archbishop Sambi for his evaluation of the talks that ended Thursday.

«To begin with, it is a positive thing that the negotiations got started, and I must say that there has been considerable progress over these days,» he said. «A few difficulties persist, but I hope the willingness continues to fulfill the Fundamental Agreement completely.»

Among the difficulties that remain, sources told AsiaNews, is the refusal to guarantee the Church access to courts for defending Church property, a situation Israeli jurists themselves call «unsustainable.»

Talks are expected to resume in the second half of October.

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