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Italian PM rakes up issue of detained marines with Khurshid

November 06, 2012 15:44 IST

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Tuesday raised the issue of two marines, who are currently facing trial in India for allegedly shooting down two Indian fishermen, with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

"The Italian prime minister requested for a brief interaction with the external affairs minister. On the issue of two Italian marines, the EAM mentioned that a decision is awaited from the Indian courts. It is well known that the Indian judiciary is fair, free and reasonable, he added," government sources said.

Khurshid is in Laos to participate in the ninth summit of the 48-member Asia-Europe meeting to be held between November 5 and November 6, his first overseas visit since becoming the external affairs minister.

New Delhi has maintained that since the case is pending, the government cannot do much, a stand which has not gone down well with Italy, which has been raising the issue at every possible level.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, the marines on board Italian ship 'Enrica Lexie', had allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen -- Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Bi -- off Kerala's coast on February 15.

They were detained on February 19 and were sent to a prison in Thiruvananthpuram. They were granted bail in June but on the condition that they must remain in Indian territory.

Last week, Italian Defence Minister Giampaolo di Paola spoke to the marines via video, telling them he was "confident" India's Supreme Court will recognise Italy's right to try the pair in Italy and that they would soon return home.

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