di Marcello Mento
Brussels, March 15 - The European Union on Friday said it hoped for a "common solution" to the dispute between India and Italy over Rome's decision not to return two marines for trial on murder charges. "The EU is taking note of the disputes between India and Italy and continues to hope that a common solution can be reached through negotiation," said a spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, EU foreign affairs representative. On Thursday India's Supreme Court slapped a travel ban on Italian ambassador to New Delhi, Daniele Mancini, until March 19 after Rome said it would not return Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone for trial following the expiry of a four-week permit issued to the pair to allow them to return home to take part in February's elections. The marines face charges of homicide in India after allegedly shooting and killing two Indian fisherman, Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki, during an anti-piracy mission in February 2012. The Italian government has always denied that India has jurisdiction over the matter, as the incident took place in international waters off the Kerala 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 not to leave the country, the Supreme Court ordered the ambassador to offer explanations for Italy's actions by March 18. Italy has expressed its openness to a third-party arbitrator in the dispute.