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Middle East: Palestine - Vatican officially recognises State of Palestine

The Vatican has officially recognised the State of Palestine in a new treaty. The treaty, which was finalised on Wednesday but still has to be signed, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to the State of Palestine.

The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the UN General Assembly in 2012 to recognise a Palestinian state. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes an official diplomatic recognition.

“Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Reverend Federico Lombardi.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to visit Pope Francis on Saturday before the canonisation of two new saints from the Holy Land a day later.

The Vatican has been referring unofficially to the State of Palestine for at least a year.

During Pope Francis’ 2014 visit to the Holy Land, the Vatican’s official programme referred to Abbas as the President of the “State of Palestine.”

Read more: | Vatican officially recognises State of Palestine

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