EU asks India to find urgent solution to Italian marines’ case

Brussels, Jan 14: The European Union Monday said it is following the case of two Italian marines in India “very closely” and noted that any decision on this case would be “very carefully assessed” even as an EU commissioner has called on the EU to stop free trade negotiations with India .

“We continue to follow the situation very closely as we have been from the very beginning that any decision on this case would be very carefully assessed from our side,” an EU spokesperson for foreign affairs, Maja Kocijancic, told a news conference here.

According to media reports, the two Italian marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, may face trial under charges that provide for capital punishment if they are found guilty. The two were detained in India after shooting dead two Indian fishermen while guarding an Italian oil tanker off the southern state of Kerala in February 2012.

“We the European Union encourage India to find as a matter of urgency a mutually satisfactory solution to this long standing case in accordance with international law and UN conventions on the law of the sea,” said Kocijancic who is the spokeswoman for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton.

“This issue also has a bearing on the issue of global fight against piracy to which the EU is strongly committed. We will continue to follow the case,” she added.

Meanwhile, the EU Commissioner responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, Antonio Tijani, who is from Italy , tweeted “Can we keep negotiating FTA India when death penalty is considerated against EU citizens fighting sea piracy?I think not.”

IANS