VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is reporting that it presently enjoys full diplomatic relations with 178 states worldwide.
The Vatican press office reported today that in addition to these states are added relations with “the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and a mission with a special character: the office of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine (OLP).”
In regard to international organizations, the Holy See is present in the United Nations as an observer state.
Moreover, it is a member of seven organizations and agencies of the U.N. system, an observer in eight others and member or observer in five regional organizations.
From the point of view of bilateral relations, 2010 was a fruitful year, the communiqué reported.
On April 6 the Holy See signed an agreement with the German state of Lower Saxony, which modified article 6 of the addendum to the 1965 Accord and regulates the juridical position of some Catholic schools run by the Dioceses of Hildesheim, Osnabruck and Munster. The exchange of instruments of ratification of this agreement took place on June 28.
On April 8 in Sarajevo was an agreement was signed between the Holy See and Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding religious assistance to Catholic faithful who are members of the Armed Forces of that country. The exchange of instruments of ratification of the agreement took place in the Vatican on Sept. 14.
The communiqué explained that this was “a first and significant application” of the basic agreement between the two parties, which was signed in Sarajevo on April 19, 2006.
Then, on May 18, an agreement was signed between the Holy See and the city of Hamburg, Germany, for the creation of a new center of Catholic theology and for the pedagogy of religion at the University of Hamburg.
The Vatican also noted that at the second meeting of the Vietnam-Holy See Joint Working Group, which took place June 23-24 in the Vatican, it was agreed that “as a first step, a non-resident Representative of the Holy See for Vietnam will be appointed by the Pope” for the deepening of relations between the two parties.
The communiqué concluded with the note that last year in three African countries — Chad, Malawi and Gabon — the presence of the diplomatic representation of the Holy See was stabilized.