VATICAN CITY, FEB 3, 1997 (VIS) - Following is the statement issued this afternoon by the Holy See Press Office after the visit to Pope John Paul by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and an entourage of seven people.

"In the occasion of his first visit to the Vatican, the head of the government of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, had a cordial talk with the Holy Father and, after the audience, met Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, together with Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, secretary for Relations with States.

"On this occasion, the prime minister illustrated the situation of the peace process in the Middle East, in its diverse bilateral and multilateral aspects.

"The Holy See, in fact, has been following the development of the negotiations since the Madrid conference of 1991 with very special attention. It continues to do all within its possibilities so that, as the Pope told the diplomatic corps last January 13. in that region 'everyone together, Hebrews, Christians and Muslims, Israelis and Arabs, believers and non-believers', might create and consolidate a concrete peace, in respect for the dignity and rights of all.

"Part of the meetings was dedicated also to the bilateral problems between the Holy See and the State of Israel, with the aim of rendering concrete and operative all that was foreseen in the Basic Agreement of December 30, 1993. A good part of that Agreement regarded freedom of religion and of conscience and the situation of the Church and, therefore, the concrete and daily life of the Catholic faithful and their pastors in Israel, in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land. The prime minister gave assurances of his will to proceed on the path undertaken in 1992 by the government led by Shamir and then by Prime Ministers Rabin and Peres.

"Finally, the prime minister also invited Pope John Paul II to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as soon as possible." 

av Webmaster publisert 31.03.2006, sist endret 10.03.2011 - 02:46