Holy See Advanced Diplomatic Relations in 2009

Reports Ties With 178 States, and Counting

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 11, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See presently has full diplomatic relations with 178 states, a number that is increasing due to several steps forward in the past year.

A Vatican communiqué reported this today, the day that Benedict XVI chose to make his traditional annual address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.

The press release noted that in addition to the 178 states, the Holy See has diplomatic relations with the European Union, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and a mission of special character: the office of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine (OLP), governed by a director.
The Holy See is also present in the United Nations with permanent observer status, and is a member of seven U.N. organizations or agencies, an observer in eight others, and a member or observer in five regional organizations.
The communiqué reported that in 2009 the Holy See took several steps forward in diplomacy.

In his address to the corps, the Pope commented on this progress, stating, «It is a cause for deep satisfaction that, just a few weeks ago, full diplomatic relations were established between the Holy See and the Russian Federation.»
This took place after a Dec. 3 meeting between Benedict XVI and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The two sides already had diplomatic ties on a simple level of representation since 1990, after the fall of the Communist regime, but in December this was raised to an apostolic nunciature and an embassy.

Other countries
Also last year, on Jan. 12, the Holy See signed a concordat with Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein Land to regulate the juridical situation of the Catholic Church in that region.
On March 5, an agreement to regulate patrimonial relations between the Holy See and Austria was signed; the documents of ratification were exchanged Oct. 14.<br>
On Dec. 10, the Holy See exchanged documents of ratification of an agreement with Brazil, which was signed Nov. 13, 2008.
A week later, on Dec. 17, a new monetary convention between the Vatican and the European Union was signed, updating the 2000 accord that introduced the euro as the official currency of Vatican City State.
In his address today, the Holy Father also spoke about Vietnam, which does not yet maintain diplomatic ties with the Holy See.

He described the recent visit of the Vietnamese president, Nguyen Minh Triet, as «significant.» The Pontiff said, «Vietnam is a country close to my heart, where the Church is celebrating her centuries-long presence by a Jubilee Year.»
He continued, «In this spirit of openness, throughout 2009 I met many political leaders from all over the world; I also visited some of them and would like to continue to do so, insofar as is possible.»

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