Italian FM resigns over marines' return to India for trial

Italian FM resigns over marines
# 26 March 2013 19:54 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Italy's Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi on Tuesday resigned out of disagreement with the government's decision to return two Italian marines back to India where they face murder trial, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"My reservations had no impact and the decision was not mine. My voice went unheard," Terzi told parliament.

"I waited to hand in my resignations here in this parliament to express publicly my position that I cannot be part of this government anymore," he said.

The "honor of Italy, of its armed forces and diplomacy" was a fundamental value, Terzi said, adding that he was supportive with the two marines and their families.

The minister's resignation came following strong criticism of the government's handling of the case of two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen off the Indian southern coast last year.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were sent back to India on Thursday days after the caretaker cabinet of Prime Minister Mario Monti said they would not be sent back to India after being allowed to come home to vote.

The U-turn decision was justified by a statement from the government saying that it had decided to maintain the commitment that the two marines should return to India by March 22 after obtaining a written assurance about "the protection of their fundamental rights."

Italy's decision not to return the couple had angered Indian authorities who had called the situation unacceptable and ruled that Italy's Ambassador to New Delhi Daniele Mancini could not leave India without permission.

The diplomatic row between the two countries, which traditionally have good relations, started in February 2012 as Latorre and Girone were charged with shooting dead two Indian fishermen mistaken as pirates from a merchant vessel.

While Italy says that the shooting took place in international waters, India insists the marines should be tried on its soil, where the accident happened.

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