Abbas Arrives in Rome to Attend Canonization of Two Palestinian Nuns

ROME, May 14, 2015 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Rome, capital of Italy, on Thursday on an official visit, where he is scheduled to attend the canonization of two Palestinian nuns to gain sainthood.

Abbas arrived in Rome after concluding a three-day official visit to Tunisia, to attend the canonization of the two 19th century Palestinian nuns; Sister Marie Alphonsine Ghattas from Jerusalem and Sister Mariam Bawardy from Ibilin village in the Galilee, by His Holiness Pope Francis on May 17.

Prior to Abbas’ visit, the “bilateral commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine” put the final touches to a treaty that would be signed with Vatican, which would include recognition of the State of Palestine as a step that is in the interest of peace and stability.

“The conclusion of the first treaty on the relation between the State of Palestine and the Holy See is a step that serves the interest of peace and stability, reinforces peaceful coexistence and builds bridges among different cultures, civilizations and religions,” stated the Palestinian Foreign Ministry in a press release.

The Vatican announced in  a press statement reported by AP that it has concluded the first treaty that formally recognizes the State of Palestine and that the text of the treaty will be signed officially ‘in the near future’.

The treaty “aims to enhance the life and activities of the Catholic Church and its recognition at the judicial level,’ Vatican’s Deputy Foreign Minister Monsignor Antoine Camilleri was quoted in AP as saying.

According to NY Times, ‘Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it was “disappointed” by the Vatican’s decision, and that the recognition would “not advance the peace process.”