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Progress in talks between Holy See and Palestine


(Vatican Radio) Members of the Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine held a meeting in Ramallah in the West Bank on Thursday to discuss progress on a Global Agreement regarding the life and activity of the Catholic Church in the Palestinian territories.
Below please find the full text of the statement released at the end of the meeting.

JOINT STATEMENT OF THE BILATERAL COMMISSION OF THE HOLY SEE AND THE STATE OF PALESTINE AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE PLENARY MEETING OF 6 FEBRUARY 2014

On 6 February 2014, the Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine, which is responsible for finalizing the text of a Global Agreement following on the Basic Agreement, signed on 15 February 2000, held a Plenary Session in Ramallah at the PLO Headquarter to review and approve the work done at the level of the joint technical group following the last Plenary Meeting held in the Vatican on 26 September 2013.
The talks were chaired by H.E Hanna Amireh, Member of Executive Committee of PLO and Head of the Presidential Higher Committee for Church Affairs of the State of Palestine, and by Msgr Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States.
The discussions took place in a cordial and constructive atmosphere. Taking up the issues already examined at the technical level, the Commission noted with great satisfaction the progress achieved in drawing up the final draft of the text of the Agreement, which deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine. Both sides agreed to continue in the efforts to complete the constitutional and internal procedures in view of the signature of the Agreement.
The Palestinian side expressed its warm welcome to the upcoming visit of His Holiness, Pope Francis, to the Holy Land.
The members of the Delegation of the Holy See were:
1. Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for Relations with States;
2. His Excellency Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine;
3. His Excellency Archbishop Antonio Franco, former Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine;
4. Msgr. Maurizio Malvestiti, Under-Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches;
5. Msgr. Alberto Ortega, Official of the Secretariat of State, Section for Relations with States;
6. Msgr. Matteo De Mori, Counsellor of the Apostolic Delegation to Jerusalem and Palestine;
7. Fr. Emil Salayta, Judicial Vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem;
8. Fr. Ibrahim Faltas, General Administrator of the Custody of the Holy Land;
9. Fr. Pietro Felet, General Secretary of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land.
The members of the Palestinian Delegation were:
1. H.E Hanna Amireh, Member of Executive Committee of PLO; Head of the Presidential Higher Committee for Church Affairs of the State of Palestine;
2. Mr. Ziad Bandak, Minister, President Advisor, Member of the Presidential Committee Church Affairs;
3. Mr. Bernard Sabella, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council;
4. Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs;
5. Ambassador Issa Kassissieh, Representative of the State of Palestine to the Holy See;
6. Mr Ammar Hijazi, Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs;
7. Mr Azem Bishara, Juridical Counsellor of the PLO;
Ramallah, 6 February 2014