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Kerala fishermen killings: Italy satisfied with steps taken by India, says deputy foreign minister

New Delhi , Thu, 23 Feb 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Feb.23 (ANI): Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Steffan de Mistura on Thursday said that his country is satisfied with the steps taken by India in the case in which two of its marines have been charged with the murder of two Kerala fishermen.

 

"We are satisfied with the steps taken by India so far. After the inspection of the vessel, our version will be proved right," Mistura said.

 

Mistura's statement today comes a day after the diplomatic stand-ff between India and Italy appeared to make no headway, with neither side willing to accept a compromise.

 

Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said India would go by its own laws to resolve the impasse arising out of the incident.

 

Kaur, who was speaking after a meeting with Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura, said: "As far as the law point is going, they have their interpretation, we have our interpretation. As of today, the two people are on Indian soil, and tomorrow, the Indian court is going to decide what steps are going to be taken further. So, as far as we are concerned in India, we certainly will go by our laws."

 

Kaur further revealed that the Italian Government has expressed regret and sorrow over the unfortunate incident.

 

"I have just received the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy. He came in wake of the unfortunate incident that took place in which two innocent lives of Indian fishermen were taken. He came on the express desire of his Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. They expressed their regret and their sorrow and condolences on the incident that took place. They put their point of view forward. And, I think, he is planning to go down to Kerala to meet with the concerned authorities," said Kaur.

 

"We have taken note of what he said and I assured him that our judiciary is very fair and free and they will take the right decision in this incident," she added.

 

Mistura said that there was a need for a change to reach a proper solution.

 

He said that ties between India and Italy were excellent. Both sides have agreed that two Indian citizens have died. They also agreed that the incident had taken place in international waters, but both sides would verify this and finally, it was agreed that both sides would redouble efforts to arrive at the truth in the matter.

 

The two Italian soldiers-Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone-who were guarding the Italian merchant vessel Enrica Lexie, are currently in three-days police custody and 14 days judicial custody.

 

They allegedly mistook the Keralite fishermen for Somalian pirates and were arrested on Sunday and charged with murder.

 

India and Italy are now engaged in serious diplomatic talks over the arrests.

 

Italy has claimed that the Indian police took "coercive" and "unilateral" action when it escorted the two soldiers off the oil tanker on Sunday and arrested them. It will today move the Kerala High Court seeking quashing of the case against the marines.

 

On Tuesday, a magistrate in Kerala issued a search warrant that empowers the police to search the ship and seize the murder weapons.

 

The tanker was sailing from Singapore to Egypt when the incident took place.

 

Italy insists that the marines should not be prosecuted in India as the tanker was flying under an Italian flag in international waters when the shooting occurred last Wednesday about 23 nautical miles off the Kerala coast. It has moved the Kerala High Court for quashing the murder charges, even as the owners of the merchant vessel have been asked to deposit a Rs 25 lakh bank guarantee. (ANI)

 


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