Marines row prompts review of ties; Italy mulls arbitration

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New Delhi, Mar 14: Even as the Ministry of External Affairs made it clear that bilateral ties are being reviewed following Rome's refusal to send back two marines who are facing murder charges in India, the Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi asserted that his country has "juridically solid reasons to proceed in the direction of international arbitration".

He said that "The Indian government is amply apprised of all it needs to know about our reasons, as do many of our partners."

Meanwhile, the External Affairs Ministry's spokesman told newspersons here on Thursday that "We have initiated a study of our interactions with Italy. At the end of that internal process, we will take further action that is appropriate taking into account all aspects of our relationship... Based on that study and as the resolution revolves, you will see our response."

To queries about Terzi's statement, the spokesman replied that first Italy has to honour its commitment to the Supreme Court.

The marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were allowed to visit their homeland and vote in the elections there only after the Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini gave an undertaking to the apex court that the duo would return to India by Mar 24.

"The first step in terms of inter-state relations or international public law is that agreements ought to be respected, and we expect Italy to (do that)," the ministry's spokesman stressed.

Latorre and Girone shot dead two fishermen in the Arabian sea 13 months ago. Gelastine aka Valentine and Ajesh Binki were killed when their fishing trawler Saint Antony reached near the MV Enrica Lexie around 4.30 p.m on Feb 15, 2012.

The marines averred that they had fired warning shots to stop pirates from attacking the ship.

Kerala Police registered cases against both Girone and Latore but Italy argued that Indian courts should not try the accused. Rome claimed that the shooting incident happened in international waters.

OneIndia News (with IANS inputs)

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