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Vatican recognition of Palestine goes into effect

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VATICAN CITY — A historic agreement signed between the Holy See and Palestine that supports a two-state solution in the Holy Land has gone into effect, the Vatican announced.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki reads his speech during a meeting at the Vatican June 26. The Vatican signed its first treaty with the "State of Palestine" June 26, calling for "courageous decisions" to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a two-state solution. The agreement went into effect this week. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki reads his speech during a meeting at the Vatican June 26. The Vatican signed its first treaty with the “State of Palestine” June 26, calling for “courageous decisions” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a two-state solution. The agreement went into effect this week. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

“The agreement, consisting of a preamble and 32 articles, regards essential aspects of the life and activity of the Church in Palestine, while at the same time reaffirming the support for a negotiated and peaceful solution to the conflict in the region,” the Vatican said in a statement Jan. 2.

The two parties signed the Comprehensive Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Palestine at the Vatican June 26. The accord focuses mostly on the status and activity of the Catholic Church in the Palestinian territories. It assures the church “juridical recognition” and “guarantees” for its work and institutions in there.

The Comprehensive Agreement follows up on the Basic Agreement, signed in 2000, between the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation Organization, and was the result of years-long bilateral negotiations.

Although the Comprehensive Agreement is considered as the first official recognition of the state of Palestine by the Holy See, the Vatican has referred to the State of Palestine since January 2013. The Vatican also praised the United Nations’ recognition of Palestinian sovereignty in 2012.