Holy See and Arab State Establish Relations

VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See and the United Arab Emirates, a country bordering the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Oman, have established diplomatic relations.

A joint communiqué released today says the agreement was signed by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, and Abdulaziz Nasser Al-Shamsi, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the UAE to the United Nations.

The communiqué says that the two bodies “being desirous of promoting bonds of mutual friendship and of strengthening international cooperation, have decided by common accord to establish diplomatic relations at the level of apostolic nunciature on the part of the Holy See and at the ambassadorial level on the part of the United Arab Emirates, conforming to the rules fixed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961.”

The United Arab Emirates, formed in 1971, is a constitutional federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The capital is Abu Dhabi.

There are an estimated 1 million Christians, mostly Catholics, among the population of 4 million.

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