After the Palestinian Authority (PA) mission to the UN presented a resolution asking for its flag and that of the Holy See to be flown at the UN headquarters in New York, the Vatican on Tuesday asked the PA to remove it from the request.
The PA's new resolution asks for non-member observer states to have their flags "raised at the United Nations Headquarters and Offices following the flags of the member states of the United Nations."
Both the Vatican and the "State of Palestine," which was recognized as a non-member state by the UN in 2012, are mentioned by name in the resolution, which comes ahead of Pope Francis's speech at the UN next month.
Apparently the request irked the Vatican's UN mission, which hadn't been consulted on the resolution.
"The Holy See does not intend to co-sponsor a draft resolution that the State of Palestine may eventually present on the matter," the Vatican wrote to the PA in a note Tuesday, reports Reuters.
"The Holy See asks the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations kindly to remove in its draft resolution any reference to the 'Holy See' and any generic reference 'on behalf of the Observer States,'" added the note.
Before the Vatican voiced its objection to taking part, it was estimated that the US and Israel would likely not block the move so as not to offend the pope.
The Vatican's distancing from the PA comes despite its support for the Palestinian Arabs, and after it recognized "Palestinian statehood" last year.
In late June the Vatican signed its historic first accord with "Palestine," even though it has yet to sign such an accord with Israel, after a month earlier the Vatican declared that it would canonize "Palestinian saints."
The moves come despite the fact that Christians have been systematically persecuted under the PA, which has caused the Christian population in Bethlehem to nearly disappear from 60% in 1990 to 15% last year.
The Vatican has also been showing an aggressive stance vis-a-vis Israel, just this month successfully pressuring Israel to question Jewish activist Bentzi Gopshtain after he quoted the famous Jewish sage Maimonides in a halakhic (Jewish legal) discussion on church arson.