Italy seeks EU support on marines issue with India

Rome, Jan 30: Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta Wednesday sought European states’ help to find out a positive solution to the case of two Italian marines detained in India for allegedly killing two fishermen while on an anti-piracy mission.

“We want the marines case to finish soon, as soon as possible,” Xinhua quoted the Italian prime minister as saying following Letta’s talks with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels.

The Italian marines — Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone — could face the death penalty in India for allegedly shooting dead two Indian fishermen mistaken for pirates while guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged vessel Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala in February 2012.

They have been detained in India for nearly two years for shooting dead the two fishermen

Italian government’s envoy Staffan De Mistura is set to head for New Delhi Thursday, while local reports said a representative of the Italian government could meet the new Russian ambassador to Rome next week, asking him to intercede with Indian authorities in the case.

Earlier, a 16-member Italian parliamentary delegation arrived in India on a two-day visit (Jan 27-28) to express support and solidarity with the two Italian Marines facing trial over the killing of two Indian fishermen.

“The death penalty would be an attack on Italy,” Fabrizio Cicchitto, a delegate member and chairman of the parliament’s lower house foreign affairs committee, said.

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino in an interview called on her country to be “cohesive” in the face of the “unreliability” of the Indian government, which had previously reassured the pair would not face capital punishment.

The European Union (EU) has threatened India, which enjoys trade preferences with the EU, with economic repercussions if the death penalty is not definitively excluded.

On Wednesday, Barroso warned that the case of the Italian marines would “have an impact on the whole EU,” which he said is “against the death penalty in any situation”.

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IANS