.- Delegates from the Holy See and Israel met for a "working level" meeting this week to continue negotiations concerning the rights of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land.
On Saturday, a joint communiquÃ© from the delegations described an "atmosphere of cordiality" at the meeting of the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission convened on Jan. 7 in Jerusalem.
The meeting's focus continues to be on an Article of the Fundamental Agreement signed by both sides in 1993 that specifically refers to the negotiation of "a comprehensive agreement, containing solutions acceptable to both Parties, on unclear, unsettled and disputed issues, concerning property, economic and fiscal matters relating to the Catholic Church generally, or to specific Catholic communities or institutions."
The success of these meetings was put into question after the previous session in December when some members of the negotiating parties were quoted as saying that the talks had become stagnant.
In Saturday's official communication from the Vatican, however, the most recent meeting was said to be "useful."
The next meeting between the two delegations will take place at the headquarters of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Feb. 10 before they convene again at the Vatican for a plenary meeting of the Commission on May 27.
The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission was established in July of 1992 "to study and define issues of common interest" between the Holy See and the State of Israel.