The Italian Almanac

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Vatican

Italian News - January 9

The Vatican has warned Britain that it risks violating a longstanding treaty by transferring its Embassy to the Holy See to premises within the British Embassy to Italy. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Pope’s Secretary of State (Prime Minister), has notified London that under the 1929 Lateran Treaty between Italy and Vatican City, the Vatican has “sovereign status” and is entitled to foreign missions separate from Italy.

Francis Campbell, 35, the new British Ambassador to the Vatican, presented his credentials to Pope Benedict XVI just before Christmas. He is working, however, from offices within the British Embassy to Italy with a reduced staff after the closure of the offices of the Embassy to the Holy See on Via Condotti.

The Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 174 nations, 68 of which have “permanent resident diplomatic missions” accredited to the Vatican. The rest have missions outside Italy with dual accreditation. All major powers have separate missions to the Vatican and Italy. The Vatican fears that if Britain reduces its diplomatic representation, other countries may also be tempted to cut costs.