The Vatican has officially recognised the "state of Palestine" in a new treaty, which was finalized Wednesday but still has to be signed, makes clear that the Vatican has switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.
The Holy See has been unofficially referring to the state of Palestine for over a year.
In 2012, the Vatican welcomed a decision by the UN General Assembly to recognize a Palestinian state. However, the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Vatican and the Palestinian state and constitutes an official recognition.
A joint statement released by the Vatican said the text of the treaty had been concluded and would be officially signed by the respective authorities "in the near future".
Representative of Palestinian Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement on behalf of the Palestinian leadership welcomed the Vatican's recognition of the State of Palestine as a genuine contribution to peace and justice.
"The significance of this recognition goes beyond the political and legal into the symbolic and moral domains and sends a message to all people of conscience that the Palestinian people deserve the right to self-determination, formal recognition, freedom, and statehood," statement said.
It was finalized days before the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to meet Pope Francis.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is traveling to the Vatican to attend the canonization of four new saints by the Pope, two of which are Palestinian nuns.
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