Vatican City, 17 Nov. (AKI) - Israel's President, Moshe Katsav, became the first Israeli head of state to pay an official visit to the Vatican when he met Pope Benedict XVI here on Thursday. At the end of their 25-minute private meeting in the Pope's library, Katsav presented Benedict with framed photos of recently discovered mosaics that are believed to be from the Holy Land's oldest church. Benedict, for his part, gave the president a framed and signed copy of the Vatican's landmark 1965 document "Nostra Aetate," which revolutionised the Catholic Church's relations with Jews.
"It is a real pleasure to meet you," Katsav told the Pope as he arrived for the meeting, shaking both of Benedict's hands.
Katsav said Wednesday that during the meeting he would invite the Pope to visit Israel - an invitation first extended by Israeli premier Ariel Sharon in a letter to the Pope in July.
Accorging to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, in his meeting with the Pope, Katsav was to explain that Israel has already made many concessions, and ask that the Vatican demonstrate some flexibility as well.
Read the complete article Vatican: Pope meets Israel's President from AKI.
So it's over. Hopefully real progress was made on the issues between the Holy See and the State of Israel. I'm a bit perplexed by the president's statement on how Israel has made 'many concessions'. I didn't realize they were agreeing to the meetings as specified in the original agreements often enough to do any real negotiating.
We'll see how it goes.