Vatican officially recognizes ‘state of Palestine’ in new treaty

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is officially recognizing the state of Palestine in a new treaty.

The treaty, which was finalized today but still has to be signed, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.

The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state.

But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes an official recognition.

Israel says it is “disappointed” in the Vatican’s decision. In a statement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry says the move doesn’t help the peace process and “distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations.”

It says it will study the treaty agreement and will “consider its steps accordingly.”

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