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|The Vatican officially recognized a Palestinian state on Friday by signing a treaty and said it hoped the step would promote peace with Israel. Vatican Foreign Minister Paul Gallagher said he hoped the Holy See's recognition 'may in some way be a stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.'
He signed the treaty with his Palestinian counterpart, Riad al-Malki, and said it could be a model for other Middle Eastern countries. Israel expressed its disappointment last month when the Vatican announced a final agreement on the treaty, regulating the Catholic Church in Palestinian territories. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that the agreement 'distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations' with the Israelis over the long-stalled peace process.