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Holy See signs historic accord, recognizing Palestine as a State

This seal finalizes 15 years of negotiations between the Holy See and Palestine. On Friday a treaty was signed between the two, where Palestine is officially recognized as a state. 

With this agreement, the Vatican joins the United Nations and a list of about 130 countries that officially recognize Palestine as an independent state. 

The agreement recognizes freedom of conscience and also religious liberty. It also allows Catholic institutions to establish themselves in the state and carry out their work accordingly. The Holy See describes the agreement as an example of dialogue and cooperation that can serve as a model for other countries with a Muslim majority.

RIAD AL-MALKI

Foreign Affairs Minister 

"We are pleased and honored to have officially signed the Comprehensive Agreement between the State of Palestine and the Holy See, following a number of years of intensive negotiations in a spirit of partnership.�

MSGR. PAUL RICHARD GALLAGHER 

Secretary for Relations with States

"In the complex reality of the Middle East, where in some countries Christians have even suffered persecution, this Agreement offers a good example of dialogue and cooperation.�

The Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States says he hopes the agreement will also help resolve the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, adding that recognizing their independence could help in easing the peace process

MSGR. PAUL RICHARD GALLAGHER 

Secretary for Relations with States

"I also hope that the much desired two-State solution may become a reality as soon as possible. The peace process can move forward only if it is directly negotiated between the Parties.�

The agreement also allows the Catholic Church to have schools and hospitals in Palestine. Furthermore Catholic priests will be exempt from military service. Also public officials who are Christian will be allowed to attend Mass on religious holidays.  

But the process isn't complete just yet. The agreement will be in full effect only when some 'constitutional and internal' issues of Palestine are dealt with. 

JMB/KLH 

CTV

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- BN

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