Vatican-Israel Meeting Seen as "Useful"

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 11, 2010 ( The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met last week, with «useful» results.

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A joint communiqué issued by the working commission reported that it met Jan. 7 to «continue its work» on settling the terms of the article on the fiscal status of the Church in Israel.

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.

«The talks proved useful and were held in an atmosphere of cordiality. Some important topics for forthcoming meetings were spelled out,» the note said.

The negotiations deal mostly with taxation and issues of ownership of more than 100 Church properties.

According to the note, the next meeting will take place Feb. 10 at the headquarters of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The plenary meeting of the commission will be held in the Vatican on May 27.

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