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Former Italy FM explains resignation over marines' issue

March 31, 2013 19:05 IST

Giulio Terzi, who resigned as Italy’s foreign minister over Rome's decision to send two marines back to India to face trial for killing Indian fishermen, says he does not "feel like a scapegoat" over his surprise move to resign, to oppose his government's U-turn on the issue.

Terzi resigned on March 26 after the two marines -- Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone -- were sent back to India on March 22 to be tried for killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last year.

Rome had earlier said that they would not return to India after being allowed to come home to Italy to vote.

Rome returned Latorre and Girone after getting assurances from New Delhi that they would not face the death penalty -- for allegedly shooting two Indian fishermen while guarding Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie.

Referring to his resignation, which stunned Premier Mario Monti and President Giorgio Napolitano, Terzi denied "feeling like a scapegoat" over his move, the ANSA news agency reported.

"By resigning, I wanted to show a sign of confidence, motivation, strength and pride in my colleagues at the foreign ministry, who work in difficult conditions," Terzi said, adding that top ministry brass had called on him to quit in a show of opposition to the government climb-down.

"I have always taken responsibility for my actions," the 66-year-old leader said.

Earlier, Monti had said Terzi resigned with motives that were not just limited to the marines’ issue.

In his resignation announced in Parliament, Terzi had said, "I am resigning because for 40 years I have maintained, and still maintain, that the reputation of the country, the armed forces and Italian diplomacy, should be safeguarded."

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