The Vatican has reportedly officially recognized Palestine as a state in a new treaty.
The headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church has been referring to Palestine as a state for almost a year after the pope`s visit to the Holy Land. However, the document, which addresses how the Catholic Church operates in Palestinian territory, is the first legal document to be negotiated between the two, reported The Independent.
Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, asserted that the treaty was a recognition that the state existed.
The move has angered Israel, with the Israeli foreign ministry saying it was “disappointed” by the decision. It added that the recognition impeded the peace process and distanced the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations.
It came after the Vatican praised the UN General Assembly for recognising Palestine as a state in 2012.
Nabil Shaath, Abbas` senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas , said that the decision was a very important recognition as the Vatican has a very important political status that stems from its spiritual status. He added that they expected more European countries to follow.
However, the Vatican and the Holy See sought to downplay the incident, with the foreign minister of the former, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, saying the shift was in line with the latter`s position.