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Friday, September 27, 2013


Vatican City, 27 September 2013 (VIS) – The Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine, which is working on a Global Agreement following the Basic Agreement, signed on 15 February 2000, met yesterday in a Plenary Session in the Vatican to acknowledge the work carried out at an informal level by the joint technical group following the last official meeting held in Ramallah at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine on 30 January 2013, and to plan future progress, with the aim of accelerating the concluding of the Agreement.

The talks were chaired by Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, and by Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, assistant minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs of the State of Palestine. The discussions took place in a cordial and constructive atmosphere. Taking up the issues already examined at an informal level, the Commission noted with great satisfaction the progress achieved in formulating the text of the Agreement, which deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine, and encouraged the efforts of the joint technical group, urging it to complete the discussions on the remaining parts of the text, the formulation of which is already at an advanced stage.

Both Parties agree that the joint technical group will continue its work in preparation for the next plenary meeting of the Bilateral Commission, planned for early 2014.

The Delegation of the Holy See was made up of the following members: Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States; Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio; Msgr. Maurizio Malvestiti, under-secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Msgr. Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag, official of the section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State; Fr. Emil Salayta, judicial vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The members of the Palestinian Delegation were: Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, assistant minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs; Ambassador Issa Kassissieh, representative of the State of Palestine to the Holy See; Ammar Hijazi, deputy assistant minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs; Azem Bishara, juridical counsellor of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO); Ammar Nisnas, counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Palestine to the Holy See.


Vatican City, 27 September 2013 (VIS) – Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for the Holy See's Relations with States, participated in a high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on nuclear disarmament, held in New York on 26 September.

The archbishop made public his concerns regarding the proliferation of nuclear weapons into other countries, and commented that the matter cannot be fully addressed as long as nuclear states hold on to their arsenals. “Under the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, states are enjoined to make 'good faith' efforts to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons. Can we say there is 'good faith' when modernisation programs of the nuclear weapons states continue despite their affirmations of eventual nuclear disarmament?”.

It is now imperative for us to address in a systematic and coherent manner the legal, political and technical requisites for a world free from nuclear arms”, he said, emphasising the need “to begin as soon as possible preparatory work on the Convention or a framework agreement for a phased and verifiable elimination of nuclear arms”.

Mamberti concluded, “It is time to counter the logic of fear with the ethic of responsibility, fostering a climate of trust and sincere dialogue, capable of promoting a culture of peace, founded on the primacy of law and the common good, through a coherent and responsible co-operation between all members of the international community”.


Vatican City, 27 September 2013 (VIS) – Next Monday, 30 September, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Federico Lombardi, S.J., will hold a briefing on the Pope's meeting with the group of eight cardinals, regarding the nature of the meeting, preparation and working times involved, and the information that will be available.

It is important to remember that the Group is constituted to offer advice to the Pope and not to make autonomous decisions, that it is a first meeting which will be followed by others, and that the participants will abide by criteria of privacy regarding the content of the consultations”.


Vatican City, 27 September 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received in audience:

- His Beatitude Archbishop Youhanna X, Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and entourage.

- Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

- Members of the Governing Council of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

- Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


Vatican City, 27 September 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Jean-Christophe Lagleize as bishop of Metz (area 6,226, population 1,034,000, Catholics 808,800, priests 372, permanent deacons 59, religious 674), France. Bishop Lagleize, previously bishop of Valence, France, was born in Soisy-sous-Montmorency, France in 1954, was ordained to the priesthood in 1981, and received episcopal ordination in 2001. He succeeds Bishop Pierre Raffin, O.P., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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