05/21/2007, 00.00
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“Important progress” from bilateral commission meeting

Their joint press release talks about an atmosphere of great cordiality and hoped-for developments over the next few months. Today’s meeting dealt with the legal and tax treatment of Church property in the Jewish state.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – This morning’s meeting of the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and Israel made “important progress,” according to a joint press release.

The statement noted that “further developments are expected in the next few months,” and stressed that the two sides talked in an “atmosphere of great cordiality, mutual understanding and good will.”

It further said that today’s meeting was about “progress in the negotiations regarding article 10.2 of the Fundamental Agreement that was signed by the Holy see and the State of Israel on December 30, 1993.”

In actual terms, it referred to Church property in Israel and tax exemptions the Church enjoyed at the time of Israel’s creation and which the United Nations insisted Israel honour.

The next meeting of the Commission is set to take place in mid-December in Israel. In the meantime, working groups will continue their work.

The two delegations were headed respectively by Mgr Pietro Parolin, undersecretary for Relations with States for the Holy See, and Aaron Abramovich, director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Their original meeting was scheduled for last March but was cancelled at the last moment by the Israeli side.

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