Vatican City, 13 May 2015 (VIS) – The Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine, which is working on a Comprehensive Agreement following on the Basic Agreement, signed on 15 February 2000, has held a Plenary Session in the Vatican to acknowledge the work done 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 6 February 2014.

The talks were chaired by Mgr 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.

Both Parties agreed that the work of the Commission on the text of the Agreement has been concluded, and that the agreement will be submitted to the respective authorities for approval ahead of setting a date in the near future for the signing.

The members of the Delegation of the Holy See were Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States; Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio; Fr. Luciano Lorusso, under-secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Msgr. Alberto Ortega, official of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State; and 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, and deputy assistant minister of foreign affairs for multilateral affairs; and Azem Bishara, legal adviser of the PLO.