Vatican To Recognise State Of Palestine In New Treaty


Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives to his inauguration mass on 19 March 2013.

The Vatican has concluded its first treaty that formally recognises the State of Palestine, with an agreement on Catholic Church activities in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, according to the Holy See.

A joint statement released by the Vatican said on Wednesday said the text of the treaty had been concluded and would be officially signed by the respective authorities “in the near future”.


Palestinian leaders celebrated the Holy See’s endorsement as particularly important, given the international stature of Pope Francis. For Israelis, it was an emotional blow, since Francis has deep relationships with Jews dating back decades, and Christians are critical backers of their enterprise.

“The Vatican is not just a state. The Vatican represents hundreds of millions of Christians worldwide, including Palestinians, and has vast moral significance,” said Husam Zomlot, a senior Palestinian foreign-affairs official.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it was “disappointed” by the Vatican’s decision, and that the recognition would “not advance the peace process.”

Most of the 135 nations that have recognized a state of Palestine did so in 1988, after the Palestine Liberation Organization declared it; Sweden was the last, in October. The British, French, Spanish and Irish Parliaments have in recent months passed resolutions urging their governments to follow suit.

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