DPA reports Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi (pictured) said while the Pope had expressed on several occasions his desire to visit the Holy Land, a "condition of general peace" and "local realities" need to be considered before the Pontiff accepts the standing invitation by Israeli President Shimon Perez.
Last week, a meeting between the Holy See and the Israeli government, was supposed to have agreed to an accord which would finalise legal and financial status of the Church in Israel.
Since its signing in 1993, ratification of the accord "which must be complemented by juridical and economic agreements to come into effect" has been repeatedly delayed.
Congregation for the Oriental Churches secretary Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio - who participated in the 13 December talks - said most sticking points with Israel remained unresolved.
"As long as we talk about God, about peace, the promotion of the rights of women and other human rights, it is easy to reach agreement," Archbishop Veglio said.
"But when we start discussing the details, and I refer in particular to the issue of taxes, then differences emerge," he said.
The next round of Vatican-Israel talks are set to take place in Rome in May 2008.
Vatican rules out papal visit to Holy Land in
2008 (DPA, 17/12/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Congregation for the Oriental Churches
Israeli Foreign Ministry
Vatican delegation arrive for WYD (CathNews 12/12/07)
Holy See optimistic after Annapolis talks (CathNews 05/12/07)
Pope prays wisdom will fuel mid-east peace (CathNews 26/11/07)
International Church Action for Peace in Palestine & Israel (CathNews 12/03/06)
Vatican official has high hopes for Middle East Peace Summit (CathNews 0/06/03)
Bethlehem faces darkest hour, mayor says in Christmas message (CathNews 13/12/06)
Pope spells out Mideast peace wish list (CathNews 03/06/03)
Vatican asks Israel to get serious about peace efforts (CathNews 15/07/03)
18 Dec 2007