Marines row: Indian ambassador not to assume charge in Rome

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New Delhi, Mar 16: The Indian ambassador-designate will not be assuming charge in Rome next week because of the nationwide outrage over the Italian marines not being sent back to face trial here.

The Ministry of External Affairs has already made it clear that bilateral ties are being reviewed in light of Italy's refusal to honour its commitment to the Supreme Court.

Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre were permitted to go to their homeland for voting in the elections there only after Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini assured the apex court that the duo will return to India before Mar 24.

Despite Mancini's undertaking, Rome informed Delhi on Mar 11 that the marines who killed two fishermen in the Arabian sea 13 months ago will not be coming again to India.

Latorre and Girone have been charged with murder as they fired indiscriminately at a fishing trawler Saint Antony when it neared the Italian vessel MV Enrica Lexie around 4.30 p.m on Feb 15, 2012.

Gelastine aka Valentine and Ajesh Binki, who were on board the Saint Antony, succumbed to bullet injuries. Since the incident took place off the Kerala coast, police in the state took Latorre and Girone into custody.

Italian Marines

The Kerala High Court started looking into the case but the Supreme Court later ruled that the accused will be tried in Delhi. However, Italy argued that the matter lies beyond the jurisdiction of Indian courts as the victims were shot dead in international waters.

According to Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi, his country has "juridically solid reasons to proceed in the direction of international arbitration".

Incidentally, the European Union has urged both the nations to resolve their differences through talks. "The EU is taking note of the disputes between India and Italy and continues to hope that a common solution can be reached through negotiation," said EU spokesperson Catherine Ashton on Friday.

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