Rome

Italy must 'find a way' to bring marines home, says Bonino

Ship guards accused of killing Indian fishermen

Italy must 'find a way' to bring marines home, says Bonino

Rome, May 15 - Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino vowed on Wednesday that two Italian marines held in India for allegedly killing two fishermen last year must come home to Italy. We must "find the way to bring the two marines home," Bonino told the Italian parliament's foreign affairs committee, adding that she believed "the path of dialogue and firmness can allow us to find a fair solution". "We will do no less than assert our convictions on international law," Bonino said. She explained that the new investigation into the case "should last two months, applying not the law of terrorism on the seas but of the NIA (India's National Investigation Agency), which thus excludes the death penalty". Bonino also indicated that she was in contact with the Indian foreign minister on the matter. On Tuesday, Italian Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said the Indian police investigation "will be carried out rapidly and within the agreed time span". In response to reports that authorities needed more time, de Mistura said "there will be no delays and the investigation will be swift and fair". Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are currently waiting for a new investigation to be completed by India's NIA anti-terrorism police into 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 row 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 blocked the Italian ambassador from leaving the country and the BRICS nations were said to be considering sanctions. De Mistura arrived in New Delhi on Monday to meet with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid and to follow the investigation, which is scheduled to take two months.

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