Holy See-Israel Progress: "Very Significant"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 15, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A line-up of succinct Vatican communiques over the years has reported the results of meetings between the Holy See and Israel regarding their 1993 Fundamental Agreement.

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The communiqué after Tuesday’s meeting seemed to indicate headway in the discussions.

“The negotiations took place in an open, friendly and constructive atmosphere,” the communiqué stated, “and very significant progress was made.”

The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel is negotiating the agreement that established diplomatic ties between them. Since the 1993 agreement, the two sides have been discussing the particulars of tax exemptions and property rights for the Church, in particular for the holy sites.

Monsignor Ettore Balestrero, undersecretary for relations with states, led the Holy See delegation, and Daniel Ayalon, Israel’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, led the Israeli delegation.

The next plenary meeting was scheduled for Dec. 1 in Israel.

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