The Vatican has expressed 'regret' following a decision by an Israeli delegation to cancel a meeting to discuss the church's financial and legal status in the Holy Land.
The meeting was supposed to deal with some issues relating to the Fundamental Agreement, signed at the end of 1993, and which came into effect in March 1994.
The Vatican has called upon Israel to respect agreements it signed in 1948 regarding the property of the Catholic Church, in addition to restoring some of the churches' significant sites that have been confiscated by successive Israeli governments.
The Israelis demolished a major Catholic church in the 1950s.
“On March 26,” the press release from the Vatican said, “the Israeli delegation made known the impossibility of its participating in the meeting, due to the international political situation. The Holy See, while understanding the reasons, notes the circumstance with disappointment and hopes as soon as possible to be able to agree with the Israeli side a new date for calling the plenary."
Israel's ambassador to the Vatican, Oded Ben-Hur said that the postponement was for technical reasons only, and that a new meeting would be arranged as soon as possible.