Headway Made on Holy See-Israel Accords

Progress Intensifies Ahead of Papal Visit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

JERUSALEM, APRIL 24, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Ahead of Benedict XVI’s visit to the Holy Land, members of the Israel-Holy See Bilateral Permanent Working Commission report that «meaningful» progress is being made to conclude their agreements.

A working-level meeting of the commission met Thursday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem to continue negotiations on the economic agreement regarding the fiscal system and Church properties.

«The meeting was characterized by great cordiality and a spirit of cooperation,» stated a communiqué published jointly by the Holy See and Israel.

«Meaningful progress was achieved by receiving a report from a working group, and the delegations renewed their joint commitment to conclude the agreement as soon as possible,» the note affirmed.

The commission will meet for a plenary session next Thursday at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Since signing the Fundamental Agreement in 1993, which established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel, the two sides have been negotiating the particulars of tax exemptions and property rights for the Church, in particular for the holy sites. Talks stopped altogether in 2003 for several years, and began again in 2005.

While the negotiations have nothing officially to do with Benedict XVI’s visit to the Holy Land, which will take place May 8-15, sources in the Vatican explain that Israel is interested in the good image the Pope’s visit can give to the nation, and the Church is interested in consolidating its presence in the Holy Land.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation