Vatican, Palestinian leaders continue talks on church rights, freedoms
Published: January 30, 2012
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican and the Palestine Liberation Organization are continuing talks aimed at a formal agreement regulating and promoting the presence and activity of the Catholic Church in the Palestinian territories. Vatican and PLO representatives met Jan. 28 at the headquarters of the Palestinian president in Ramallah, according to a statement released at the Vatican Jan. 30. The talks in Ramallah were co-chaired by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, the Vatican undersecretary for relations with states, and Ziad al-Bandak, the Palestinian presidential adviser for Christian relations. The Palestinian side gave the Vatican its response to a draft proposed earlier by the Vatican, the statement said. "The talks took place in a positive atmosphere to strengthen further the special relations between the two sides," it said. "The delegations agreed to set up technical teams to follow up on the draft" in preparation for a larger meeting that will be held at the Vatican "in the near future." Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, would not provide further details, but said the meeting was "a positive sign of good will."
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