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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

German envoy backs Italian marines cause

Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 04, 2014
First Published: 09:53 IST(4/2/2014) | Last Updated: 09:57 IST(4/2/2014)

Expressing support for Italy in the Italian marines case, Germany’s ambassador to India Michael Steiner said a smooth handling of the case is in the interest of Italy, India and the European Union (EU).

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Steiner’s comment comes close in the heels of EU saying the case may impact its relationship with India, stressing that “this issue has also a bearing on the global fight against piracy, to which the EU is strongly committed.”

“Italy is part of the EU so we are following the case closely. It is on one hand a bilateral issue, but we think it is in the mutual interest of India, Italy and the EU to solve it smoothly, considering it has been going on for two years (now),” Steiner said.

Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission had recently said that any decision on the case may have an impact on EU-India relations. “The EU encourages India to find, as a matter of urgency, a mutually satisfactory solution to the long-standing case of the Italian marines arrested for killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012 in accordance with international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea”, he had said.

On Monday, Supreme Court had given the Centre a week’s time to resolve all disputes arising out of invoking anti-piracy law against the Italian marines.

Meanwhile, some Italian media like Tempo, Libero and IL Fatto have hinted that talks in India to slap charges of death penalty on the two Italian marines is an act of revenge after “revelation were made by a middleman in AgustaWestland that top politicians in the ruling party of India could have been approached to clinch the deal.”German president’s india visit begins today

German President Joachim Guack will arrive here on Tuesday on a six-day state visit, during which he will hold talks and discuss ways to enhance bilateral ties. Guack will be accompanied by a 80-member delegation, including 15 business leaders, said German ambassador, Michael Steiner.


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