Holy See-Israel Economic Talks Advance

JERUSALEM, JULY 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met to advance negotiations on an economic agreement.

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A Vatican communiqué reported today that the meeting, which took place Thursday at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was in an atmosphere of «great cordiality.»

It noted that the delegations «believe they have contributed to taking the talks forward towards the desired agreement.»

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.

After the meeting, the commission publicized the dates for their next meetings: Aug. 26, Sep. 15-16, Oct. 14-15 and Nov. 11-12.

The plenary commission will meet Dec. 10 in the Vatican.

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