Saturday, December 27, 2008

Preparations for the Holy Father's visit to the Holy Land

The preparation for Benedict XVI's possible visit to the Holy Land, which could take place in May 2009, has given positive impetus to the relations between Israel and the Holy See.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem� concluded the meeting of the Bilateral Permanent Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel on December 18. This meeting confirmed the decision to reach agreements that have been� suspended since the signing of the Fundamental Treaty of December 30, 1993 in order to begin reciprocal diplomatic relations.

The negotiations have nothing to do with the Pope's visit, but, as sources in the Holy See explained, the trip is of interest because of the positive image that the Papal visit will leave, as the presence of the Church in the Holy Land, the issue at the center of the negotiations, has great importance to the Holy Father. The communiqu� also stressed the "atmosphere of great cordiality and goodwill."

In recent days, a Vatican delegation met President Shimon Peres to discuss the details of the Papal visit, which could affect Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

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