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Italy to ensure return of its marines from India: PM

June 03, 2012 15:02 IST

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has expressed "great satisfaction" over the release on bail of two Italian marines charged with the killing of two Indian fishermen, but said the final objective of his government is to ensure their return to the country.

"I express my own and the government's great satisfaction for the liberation, under bail conditions, of our marines. An important objective has been reached," Monti said in a statement.

"But the final outcome, for which we have worked with determination since the beginning in our relations with Indian authorities of every level, is the return of our marines to Italy," he said.

After being in jail for nearly 15 weeks, the two Italian marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, were granted bail by the court on May 30 with some stringent conditions.

The court also directed the Kerala government to ensure abundant caution and inform the seaport or other authorities to prevent the two accused from leaving the country.

The court order, in the case which sparked a diplomatic standoff between India and Italy, came a day after it turned down that country's plea for quashing an FIR against the marines.

The court had held that the two accused were liable to penal jurisdiction of Indian courts. Italy claims that the marines should be prosecuted in their home country as the incident occurred on an Italian-flagged vessel in international waters.

In May, Italy had recalled its ambassador for consultations after the marines were charged with murder.

Earlier, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi had hinted the bail decision would do little to end the diplomatic row with India.

"There's no reason to sing a victory song because the Indians continue to violate Italian jurisdiction," Terzi told the Italian Senate after the court granted conditional bail to marines.

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