The Vatican has differed with a Palestinian request for the two observer states to the United Nations to be allowed to raise their flags at its headquarters, saying the move goes against a longheld tradition at the world body.
In a statement released late yesterday, the Vatican appeared to be seeking a way to cut short the Palestinian effort to associate the Roman Catholic Church with an initiative which risks further angering Israel.
The Jewish state is already disturbed that the Vatican in June recognised a “Palestinian state” in signing its first bilateral accord with the Palestinian Authority.
The latest initiative would have the United Nations adopt a resolution so the Palestinian and Vatican flags would be raised alongside those of UN member states
“The Holy See does not object to the tabling of a draft resolution concerning the raising of flags of Observer States at the UN headquarters and offices,” the Vatican statement said.
But at the same time it noted that since its founding in 1945, it has been a tradition that “only flags of member States are displayed at the UN headquarters and offices,” it added.
The Vatican also said it would abide by any decision the UN members might take on this matter in the future.
A diplomatic note had been circulating for several days in New York in which the Vatican distanced itself from the Palestinian demand, according to informed sources.
The Vatican’s statement was seen by observers as a means of clarifying its position while trying not to strain relations with either the Palestinians or the Israelis.
Pope Francis is scheduled next month to address the UN General Assembly during his trip to Cuba and the United States.