Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Members of the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission formed by representatives of the Holy See and Israel are making progress and resolved to conclude their agreements soon, according to both groups.

Meetings of the commission are focused on the "comprehensive agreement," mandated by the Fundamental Agreement, which Israel and the Holy See signed in 1993.

The commission met Wednesday in Israel. According to a joint statement, the theme of this most recent meeting was the economic agreement regarding the fiscal system and Church properties.

"The encounter was characterized by great cordiality and a spirit of cooperation," the statement reported. Both parties agreed there "had been progress" and affirmed that "the delegations have renewed their commitment to conclude the agreement as soon as possible."

The next meeting was schedule for April 7, a month before Benedict XVI's apostolic journey to Israel.