VATICAN CITY: The Vatican has officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty.
The treaty, which was finalized Wednesday but still has to be signed, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.
The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes an official recognition.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to see Pope Francis on Saturday before the canonization of two new saints from the Holy Land a day later.