4-December-2007 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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Israeli Envoy Promises: Pact with Vatican Soon

Rome, Dec. 4, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Israeli's ambassador to the Holy See has said that his country is very close to concluding a long-awaited economic and juridical agreement with the Holy See.

Oded Ben Hur, the Israeli envoy, told an audience in Rome that about 85% of the agreement has been completed, the ANSA news agency in Rome reports. He said that the remaining portions could be wrapped up quickly, with a new negotiating session scheduled for December 13.

The economic-juridical pact was promised as part of the "fundamental accord" of 1993, and Vatican recognition of Israel. But negotiations stalled in 1994, and did not resume until American diplomatic pressure brought Israel's representatives back to the bargaining table in 2004.

Vatican officials have frequently complained about the slow pace of the negotiations, while Ambassador Ben Hur has offered assurances in the past that the agreement will soon be completed.

In November, Archbishop Pietro Sambi-- formerly the apostolic nuncio in Jerusalem, now stationed in Washington-- caused a stir by saying that Israel has consistently failed to fulfill its diplomatic promises.

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