Vatican: No plans for papal trip to Israel in immediate future

The Vatican on Monday ruled out a trip by Pope Benedict XVI to Israel in the immediate future, saying the two sides must settle long-standing differences over property, tax exemptions and visas. Israel recently renewed a standing invitation to the pope, who has said he would like to make the visit. "The pope has a great desire to go to Israel, but along with general conditions of peace there should be positive signs on relations with the Holy See," Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told a media briefing on the situation of Christians in the Holy Land.