New Delhi

Indian airports told Italian ambassador can't leave

Interior ministry notifies travel ban in marines row

Indian airports told Italian ambassador can't leave

New Delhi, March 15 - The Indian interior ministry notified all the country's airports Friday about a supreme court travel ban on the Italian ambassador amid a row over two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen who failed to return to India as promised earlier this week. The court slapped the ban, lasting until March 19, on Ambassador Daniele Mancini after the Italian government's decision not to send the marines back to India after they were granted a permit to come home to vote in last month's general elections. In other moves India on Thursday put on hold the procedure for its new ambassador to Rome to take up his position and summoned the EU's ambassador to New Delhi to discuss the case. The marines, Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who had been held in India since February 2012, were allowed to return to Italy for one month for national elections held February 24-25. Latorre and Girone, who are charged with homicide for allegedly shooting the fishermen while on an anti-piracy mission, were supposed to return to India later this month. The Italian government has always denied that India has jurisdiction over the matter, as the incident took place in international waters off the country's coast. In its letter to the Italian ambassador, the Indian Supreme Court said Mancini ''violated'' a ''sworn declaration'' presented on February 9 to the Indian government as ''a guarantee of the marines' return''. Along with the order to not leave the country, the Supreme Court ordered the ambassador to offer explanations for Italy's actions by March 18. An earlier deal, which allowed the marines to return to Italy for Christmas, was respected by both governments and was seen as a positive step - as well as a sign of goodwill - towards a diplomatic solution. Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi on Thursday said Italy's decision to not return the pair was legitimate and Italy had a strong case which it wanted to put to independent arbitration. "We have a very solid position, of which we are perfectly convinced, (as are) many important partners in the international community, (based on) the fact that we are acting in full respect of international law," Terzi said.

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