giovedì 5 giugno 2014

'Friendly' talks held between Italy, India on marines

Mogherini meets new counterpart on range of foreign issues

(ANSA) - Rome, June 4 - Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini has had a "friendly conversation" with her new Indian counterpart on issues including the thorny subject of two marines held in New Delhi for over two years, an Indian foreign ministry official told ANSA Wednesday. Mogherini talked with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday about a range of international issues affecting bilateral relations, said Syed Akbaruddin, a former Indian diplomat who now speaks for the ministry. Still, the fate of the two marines who killed two Indian fishermen in February 2012 was the top subject for the ministers.

The Italian government has said it hopes that India's newly government of Narendra Modi will be open to negotiations on the file, but failing that it will take the case to international arbitration. On Monday marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone sent a Republic Day video message back to Italy from New Delhi.

Latorre said that all they can do is "suffer with dignity" as they wait for a resolution to the case against them involving their actions while on an anti-pirate patrol. Last month, the Italian government announced it was opening a "new phase" in the saga, replacing its special envoy on the case and sending its ambassador back to New Delhi to help steer the case towards arbitration by an international organization such as the UN. Nicola Latorre, who chairs the Senate defence committee, urged further talks with India's new government and new parliament during a radio interview Wednesday. 

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