09/10/2004, 00.00
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Holy See – Israel : "positive" meetings, but with a few obstacles

Monsignor Sambi "Remarkable progress but difficulties persist".  Negotiations adjourned to October

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – After 4 intense days of negotiations, the ad hoc Vatican delegation concluded yesterday its mission to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, for the fulfilment of the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and Israel.  It was the first meeting of substance in a year between the two delegations.  The Vatican delegation, led by Archbishop, Pietro Sambi, released no official statement, nor did the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

AsiaNews however asked Msgr Sambi for his evaluation:  "To begin with, it is a positive thing that the negotiations got started – the apostolic delegate explained – and I must say that there has been considerable progress over these days.  A few difficulties persist, but I hope the willingness continues to fulfil the Fundamental Agreement completely".

According to what well-informed sources have disclosed to AsiaNews, outstanding problems are, by now, few and well defined, but instrumental to any final agreement.  Among these – again according to sources – is most notably the refusal to guarantee the Church access to courts for defending Church property:  a situation that Israeli jurists themselves define as "unsustainable". 

It appears that negotiations have been adjourned to the second half of October.

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