Rome

Monti stunned by Terzi, suggests ulterior motive

Premier says foreign minister gave no warning was quitting

Monti stunned by Terzi, suggests ulterior motive

Rome, March 27 - Outgoing Premier Mario Monti told the House Wednesday that he was "stunned" by Giulio Terzi's decision to quit as foreign minister in a row over two Italian marines facing homicide charges in India. Monti said Terzi gave no warning he would quit on Tuesday, adding that his real aim was "to achieve another end and this may become clearer in the near future". There has been media speculation that Terzi, who was part of Monti's emergency technocrat government, may embark on a political career with ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL). The PdL has led criticism of the government's handling of the case of the marines accused of killing two fishermen on an anti-piracy mission off the coast of India last year. Terzi shocked parliament Tuesday by saying he was quitting because Monti sent the marines back to India against his wishes this month. Terzi initially reneged on a pledge to return the two men, who had been allowed to come home to vote in last month's general election, before a government U-turn sparked by an escalating diplomatic tussle in which India blocked the Italian ambassador from leaving the country.

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