Fishermen killing: India-Italy standoff continues

Two fishermen from Kerala, were mistaken as pirates and shot dead by the crew of an Italian cargo vessel on February 15.

New Delhi: India and Italy Tuesday failed to resolve their difference over the trial of two Italian marines
for killing two fishermen despite talks between their foreign
ministers here.

Meeting in the backdrop of the "unfortunate" incident,
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his Italian
counterpart Giulio Terzi di Sant` Agata discussed the on-going
investigations in the case but continued to have difference of
opinion on the jurisdiction and legal aspects of the incident.

Asserting that there was "differences of opinion" between
India and his country over the incident, Terzi categorically
said, "I have explained frankly the position of my government
on the legal aspect of this issue.... There is a difference
of opinion which is not resolved", while favouring their trial
under international laws.

The two ministers also tried to "clear the air" over
the February 15 killing which has led to the detention of two
Italian marines in Kochi.

"We met in the backdrop of unfortunate incident....
There is a very strong public opinion on both sides. Minister
Terzi and I agreed that we need to clear the air so that
people in both countries are reassured...," Krishna told a
joint media event with the Italian Minister.

Though the visit was pre-scheduled, the incident is
dominating the stay of Terzi, who is also travelling to Kochi
where he will meet the two Italian Mariners detained for the

"We hope to pursue the matter in a friendly spirit,
understanding and cooperation," Terzi said.
Conveying Italy`s and its people`s condolences to India
and the families of fishermen killed, Terzi said the
"unfortunate" incident took place due to the threat of piracy
in the Indian Ocean region.

"Our sailor men in Kochi have been the victims of the
same reason that caused the death of two Indian fishermen, the
threat of piracy," he said.