When diplomatic relations were begun with Israel on Dec 30, 1993, a few important issues were never settled and remain outstanding today. Improved relations, with the Holy See, will have enormous benefits to Israel both economically and politically. It will also assure that this relationship will continue into the next Papacy. With recurrent ongoing meetings with Father David Jaeger spokesperson for the Franciscan Custody and legal representative of the Holy See in Israel, and Archbishop Antonio Franco Apostolic Nuncio and Papal Delegate for the Holy See in Israel and the Holy Land, we were able to focus on current deficits in the relationship between Israel and the Vatican.
Several specific problems have been identified, which the Vatican would like to resolve in furthering this cordial relationship. Similarly, Pave the Way had raised a number of issues to the Israeli government's attention, which were easily rectified. Specifically, Christian Visa issues and low level restrictions on travel in Israel and the territories, which hampered the resurgence of Christian pilgrimages.
PTWF also acted immediately when behind the scenes obstacles were hampering advancement of the bilateral negotiations. We are very proud that we have been acknowledge as the one organization which acted decisively in order to keep these negotiations on track. We continue to monitor the progress as an outside interested party in order to see these problems resolved.
We have pledged the support and action of Pave the Way to further normalize this relationship. In encouraging and supporting normalized relations between Israel and the Vatican we hope to establish a major cooperative liaison resulting in the broad mutual cultural exchanges of artifacts from both Israel and the Vatican. Pave the Way continues to address the issues, which remain open from the original negotiations and agreement from the 1993 accords.
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