Vatican City, 27 September 2013 (VIS) – The Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine, which is working on a Global Agreement following the Basic Agreement, signed on 15 February 2000, met yesterday in a Plenary Session in the Vatican to acknowledge the work carried out at an informal level by the joint technical group following the last official meeting held in Ramallah at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine on 30 January 2013, and to plan future progress, with the aim of accelerating the concluding of the Agreement.
The talks were chaired by Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, and by Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, assistant minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs of the State of Palestine. The discussions took place in a cordial and constructive atmosphere. Taking up the issues already examined at an informal level, the Commission noted with great satisfaction the progress achieved in formulating the text of the Agreement, which deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine, and encouraged the efforts of the joint technical group, urging it to complete the discussions on the remaining parts of the text, the formulation of which is already at an advanced stage.
Both Parties agree that the joint technical group will continue its work in preparation for the next plenary meeting of the Bilateral Commission, planned for early 2014.
The Delegation of the Holy See was made up of the following members: Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States; Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio; Msgr. Maurizio Malvestiti, under-secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Msgr. Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag, official of the section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State; Fr. Emil Salayta, judicial vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
The members of the Palestinian Delegation were: Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, assistant minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs; Ambassador Issa Kassissieh, representative of the State of Palestine to the Holy See; Ammar Hijazi, deputy assistant minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs; Azem Bishara, juridical counsellor of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO); Ammar Nisnas, counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Palestine to the Holy See.