Vatican disappointed by negotiations with Israel
Vatican officials were reportedly disappointed with the outcome of recent negotiations with Israel on the implementation of parts of a 1993 treaty.
Catholic News Service quotes a "well informed source" who is puzzled by the apparent lack of progress.
"When the delegation of the Holy See came to the table, the delegation of Israel claimed to have no mandate to negotiate on any of the outstanding matters. This is why (the talks) haven't advanced. ... It is a mystery," said the SOURCE.
Topics discussed at Monday's meeting included the church's tax status and legal disputes over holy sites, the source said. Last August, Israel withdrew from the negotiations without explanation, said the source. In May, Israel indicated that it was prepared to resume talks.
The December 1993 "Fundamental Agreement Between the Holy See and the State of Israel" established full diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Israel. It outlined principles of religious freedom and church-state relations, leaving the more difficult issues -- such as the church's tax status and property holdings -- to subsequent joint commissions. The church has charged that several of these issues have yet to be resolved.
However the Rome-based AsiaNews agency, which has been closely following the issue, remains optimistic that negotiations between Israel and the Vatican will reach a positive conclusion "by the end of 2004". It said Monday's talks were not productive "because it was still too early".
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9 Jul 2004