The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel held a plenary meeting Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to continue negotiations. The Holy See delegation was headed by Monsignor Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for Relations with States, and the Israeli delegation by Danny Ayalon M.K. deputy minister of Foreign Affairs.
"The negotiations took place in a thoughtful and constructive atmosphere. The Commission took notice that significant progress was made towards the conclusion of the Agreement", reads the English-language joint communiqué made public the same day.
"The Parties have agreed on future steps and to hold the next plenary meeting on 6 December 2012 at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"The Commission further acknowledged the exemplary sewice of Their Excellencies Abp Aritonio
FRANCO and Ambassador Mordechav LEWY on the occasion of their retirement."
That evening, at a festive reception to at the home of Israeli Ambassador to the Holy See, Israeli Deputy Minister Ayalon admitted that the Palestinians were trying to torpedo the agreement "pathetically". Deputy Minister Balastrero stressed that the agreement is not political and that the Vatican does not deal with territorial disputes. The agreement, he explained, focuses on financial apsects and the legal status of Christians in the Holy Land. Both agreed that most obstacles have been overcome and that signing the agreement will be possible at the end of the year…