‘Mutual understanding’ marks meeting between Holy See and Israeli officials

.- A plenary meeting between officials of the Holy See and the State of Israel on Tuesday was held “in an atmosphere of mutual understanding” to discuss relations between the two states.

The Bi-lateral Permanent Working Commission between the two states welcomed the “progress” accomplished by the Working Level Commission since the previous plenary meeting. According to the Vatican Information Service (VIS), the meeting agreed upon the next steps towards the fulfillment of the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel.

Some attendees of a December 2009 meeting between representatives of the two states had reported that the talks had stagnated. However, a January 2010 meeting was described as “useful.”

The agreement, signed in 1993, 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 Holy See’s delegation was headed by Msgr. Ettore Balestro, undersecretary for Relations with States. The Israeli delegation was led by Daniel Avalon, deputy minister for foreign affairs.

The next plenary meeting is scheduled for December 6 at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The next “working level” meeting is scheduled for July 27-28.

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