Italy makes no progress in marines talks with India

Mogherini meets Khurshid in The Hague

Rome, March 25 – Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said Tuesday that no progress was made in “frank” talks with her Indian counterpart in The Hague on the case of two Italian marines held in India for over two years for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen during an anti-piracy mission. “No steps forward or striking developments (came during the talks),” she said in Rome after meeting Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid during a summit on nuclear security.

Lately Italy has been trying to rally international support among the EU, the US, NATO and the UN to bring home Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who have been held in New Delhi since February 2012, after they allegedly opened fire on a fishing trawler they mistook for a pirate vessel. It is also planning to try to have international arbitration on the case, which has seriously strained Indian-Italian relations, especially before prosecutors ruled out the death penalty as a possible sentence earlier this year. They now face up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors say.

Italy argues that the case sets dangerous and wide-ranging precedents for any country involved in anti-piracy missions overseas. The incident occurred while the marines were guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie off the coast of the southern Indian state of Kerala in February 2012. The pair have been living and working at the Italian embassy in India amid a long series of delays in the case. Rome says the marines should be allowed to return home and argues India does not have jurisdiction over the case as the incident took place outside its territorial waters. “We reiterated our determination to explore all the political and legal actions (possible) to see our rights recognised and to exercise jurisdiction over the marines case,” said Mogherini.


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