The Vatican announced on Wednesday that its top diplomat, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, had met with both the Israeli and American ambassadors to express the Holy See’s concern over Israel’s plan to extend its law to the Jordan Valley, and parts of Judea and Samaria.

During the meetings, Parolin told Israeli Ambassador Oren David and U.S. Ambassador Callista Gingrich that the Vatican was concerned that unilateral actions “may further jeopardize the search for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the delicate situation in the Middle East,” according to a Vatican statement.

The Vatican also urged Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table and reiterated its support for a two-state solution.

As well as being the center of the Catholic faith and wielding universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction over its adherents, the Vatican is also a sovereign entity officially called the Vatican City State, which functions as an independent nation. Formal diplomatic relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See were established in 1993, and the Vatican formally recognizes a state of Palestine.

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