09/04/2007, 00.00
VATICAN - ISRAEL
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Holy See – Israel negotiations resume

by Arieh Cohen
It was a brief meeting of 4 hours. Talks adjourned to November next. The Vatican awaits the visit of President Peres.

Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) -  After the summer pause, negotiations were resumed on Monday, 3 September, between the Holy See and the State of Israel. The two Delegations worked about four hours. At the end of their meeting, they released a "Joint Communiqué", which reports that the two Delegations had “carried forward their work", and that they had done so "in an atmosphere of cordiality." As is customary, the Communiqué reiterated the negotiator’s "shared determination to accelerate their work, in order to conclude the Agreement as soon as possible." It then announces that the next meeting will take place on 7 November.

The main object of the talks is the Common Accord on relations between the Church and State in Israel regarding issues of taxation on material goods and ecclesial property.  The treaty, as set out in the Fundamental Accord between the Holy See and Israel signed in ’93, has yet to be implemented.

This session of talks came about on the vigil of a long awaited visit to the Vatican by Israeli President Simon Peres. Peres will have a private audience with Benedict XVI September 6th next.  It was indeed Peres, at the time minister for foreign affairs who drew up the Fundamental Accord and promoted relations with the Holy See.  There is hope however among Church members in Israel that Peres visit to the Holy See will speed up negotiations.

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