Pope John Paul II met with Moshe Katsav, president of the State of Israel this morning. Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that later the president met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State. Ambassador Yosef N Lamdan, representing Israel, was present during the meeting. Msgr Pietro Parolin, undersecretary for Relations with States, was present on behalf of the Secretariat of State. "In the above-mentioned meetings, current relations between Israel and the Holy See were examined in light of the 'Fundamental Agreement' of 1993. Particular attention was paid to the opportunity to intensify collaboration in the cultural sphere. "In regards to the dramatic situation in the Holy Land, there was an in-depth discussion in which both parties expressed their point of view. The Holy See's position favouring the existence and collaboration between two States, Israel and Palestine with the need to reach a swift conclusion of the current conflict, was explained once again to the illustrious guest. "In particular, an appeal was made for free access to Bethlehem during the upcoming Christmas celebrations."glican group to study clergy employment arrangements. source: Vatican Information Service
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