Rome

Ex-FM says not a 'scapegoat' in India marines saga

Terzi reiterates opposition to government climbdown

Ex-FM says not a 'scapegoat' in India marines saga

Rome, March 29 - Ex-foreign minister Giulio Terzi reiterated his opposition to the recent decision to send two Italian marines back to India to face homicide charges in an interview to be broadcast on a private Mediaset channel on Friday evening. The government move followed days of diplomatic wrangling with New Delhi over an earlier decision not to return Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone for trial when a four-week parole period expired on March 22. They are accused of shooting and killing two Indian fishermen after allegedly mistaking them for pirates during an anti-piracy mission off the Kerala coast in February 2012. On Friday Terzi denied ''feeling like a scapegoat'' in reference to his surprise resignation over the matter on Tuesday. The resignation, made before parliament and which reportedly stunned Premier Mario Monti and President Giorgio Napolitano, crystallised the divisions over the handling of a case that has seen Italy at loggerheads with India for months and involved the international community. ''I have always taken responsibility for my actions,'' Terzi told the Rete4 channel. ''By resigning I wanted to show a sign of confidence, motivation, strength and pride in my colleagues at the foreign ministry, who work in difficult conditions,'' he explained, adding that top ministry brass had called on him to resign in a show of opposition to the government climbdown. The ex-foreign minister had earlier resisted calls to step down, arguing that the diplomatic row resulting from the decision had been ''necessary'' to ensure the servicemen would not face the death penalty if convicted in India. Italy has always denied that India has jurisdiction over the case, as it took place in international waters.

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