The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met last Thursday "to continue negotiations pursuant to Article 10 § 2 of the Fundamental Agreement," a Vatican communiqué reported."

The Fundamental Agreement was signed Dec. 30, 1993, and it established diplomatic relationships between the two entities. Since then, 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 took place in a constructive atmosphere and made progress towards the mandated Agreement," reported a Vatican communiqué.

The working commission will meet again June 14, and the Plenary Session will meet June 15 in the Vatican.

Congo's President Greets Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2010 ( Benedict XVI received in audience today the president of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, during which the two reaffirmed today their “common will to reinforce the good relations between the Holy and See and the Republic of Congo.”