New Delhi

Italian special envoy arrives in India to follow marines

Envoy confirmed by Italy's right-left government

Italian special envoy arrives in India to follow marines

New Delhi, May 13 - Italian Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura arrived in New Delhi on Monday to follow the case of two Italian anti-pirate marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen, diplomatic sources told ANSA. De Mistura was confirmed to continue his post by the newly formed Italian government on May 3 to deal with the drawn-out affair that has put Italy and India at loggerheads. De Mistura escorted the marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, to New Delhi in March, at the end of their leave home to vote in Italian elections. De Mistura met with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid at that time. Latorre and Girone are currently waiting for a new investigation to be completed by India's NIA anti-terrorism police, assigned to the task by the Indian government over a month ago. Latorre and Girone face charges of shooting and killing Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki after allegedly mistaking them for pirates while guarding a merchant ship off the Kerala coast in February 2012. The two countries have been in a diplomatic impasse and relations have been tense since the incident. Italy has contested India's claim that it has jurisdiction over the case, arguing that the deaths occurred in international waters. But Rome agreed to send the pair back to India after home leave to vote when India said they would not face the death penalty. At the height of the spat, when Italy reneged on a pledge to return the marines, India stopped the Italian ambassador leaving the country and the BRICS nations were said to be considering sanctions.

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