Italian PM speaks to Khurshid about marines

New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti Friday spoke to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid about the two Italian marines facing trial in India for killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast last year.

Monti, who is caretaker prime minister till a new government is formed in Italy, holds charge of the foreign ministry after Giulio Terzi resigned last week over the issue.

The Italian prime minister spoke to Khurshid over the phone after Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura met the external affairs minister here Friday to discuss developments in the case, government sources said.

Mistura met Khurshid “to discuss developments in the case related to Italian marines following the lifting of the restrictions on Italian envoy Daniele Mancini by the Supreme Court”, the sources said.

Khurshid provided Mistura “an update on the developments since their meeting last month. He also informed the minister of the steps being taken in compliance with the apex court directions at the last hearing and intentions of the government of India to inform the Hon’ble Court on April 16 of the efforts made to constitute a special court” in accordance with the court ruling.

The two Italian marines, Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, on board the Italian cargo vessel Enrica Lexie are accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen Feb 15 last year, suspecting them to be pirates.

The Supreme Court had ruled in January that the Kerala government had no independent jurisdiction to try the marines. It had asked the central government, in consultation with the chief justice of India, to set up a special court to hold their trial.

The marines, allowed to go home to vote in national elections in Italy, flew back to India March 22, resolving a diplomatic crisis.

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